First Date with the Gita? If Not, Remember Yours? (Gita Talk 7)

Via on Oct 2, 2011

For next week please read Chapters 8 and 9, p. 106-120.

This week I’d like to have a wide open discussion of where you all are in your experience with the Bhagavad Gita.

If you are a relatively new reader of the Gita, please tell us how you’re feeling about it.

–What are the biggest questions on your mind?

–What would help you get the most out of this experience?

–What have you liked the most?  The least?

I personally went through a period when I rejected the Gita after my first reading. So I know how that feels, and I’m anxious to help anyone who might be having the same initial reaction.

If you are an experienced Gita reader, think back on your own first encounter with the Gita.

–What were your first reactions when you were a third of the way through the Gita?

–Did it draw you in, or did it make you want to run?

–Which version were you reading? How does it compare to Mitchell’s?

What can we do here at Gita Talk do to better meet your needs? All feedback and suggestions are welcome.

Or, if you prefer to stick with the text itself, I’ll leave you with this, my favorite passage from Chapter 7. Love to hear your comments and questions:

There is nothing more fundamental
than I, Arjuna; all worlds,
all beings, are strung upon me
like pearls on a single thread.

I am the taste in water,
the light in the moon and sun,
the sacred syllable Om
in the Veda, the sound in air.

I am the primal seed
within all beings, Arjuna:
the wisdom of those who know,
the splendor of the high and mighty.

I am the strength of the strong man
who is free of desire and attachment;
I am desire itself
when desire is consistent with duty. (BG 7.7-7.11)

For next week please read Chapters 8 and 9, p. 106-120.

All Blogs in the Series:

Welcome to Gita Talk:
Online Discussion of the Bhagavad Gita. (Round 2)

Ongoing Resources:

Gita in a Nutshell: Big Ideas & Best Quotations

Yoga Demystified

The Original Sixteen Session Gita Talk

Join Gita Talk Facebook Group for weekly notices
and to meet fellow participants.

About Bob Weisenberg

Bob Weisenberg: Editor, Best of Yoga Philosophy / Former Assoc. Publisher, elephant journal / Author: Yoga Demystified * Bhagavad Gita in a Nutshell * Leadership Is Like Tennis, Not Egyptology / Co-editor: Yoga in America (free eBook) / Creator: Gita Talk: Self-paced Online Seminar / Flamenco guitarist: "Live at Don Quijote" & "American Gypsy" (Free CD's) / Follow Bob on facebook, Twitter, or his main site: Wordpress.

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14 Responses to “First Date with the Gita? If Not, Remember Yours? (Gita Talk 7)”

  1. Pamela says:

    The Gita always wants to make me turn inward. I'd be interested to hear from anyone who reads it and wants to jump up and run.

  2. Tanya Lee Markul Tanya Lee Markul says:

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  4. This is my first date with the Gita, and I am thoroughly enjoying it! Sometimes I try to make connections to my life, and modern life in general. More often I just enjoy the language, the poetry of it and if connections come — great — if not, I just enjoy. It makes me think of a movie quote (that is now going to bug me until I can remember where it's from!!) about the tango…sometimes you get tangled up, but you tango on.

    If I feel tangled up it it (What could this possibly mean? How could this have any relevance for me?) I try not to worry about it. I just enjoy it, and tango on!

    "I am the taste in water,
    the light in the moon and sun,
    the sacred syllable Om
    in the Veda, the sound in air."

    Pretty heady & amazing for a first date! So glad you recommended this translation, Bob!

    • Loved this comment, Kate.

      "Scent of a Woman"?

      Lt. Col. Frank Slade: Oh, where do I go from here, Charlie?
      Charlie Simms: If you're tangled up, just tango on.
      Lt. Col. Frank Slade: You askin' me to dance, Charlie?

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        • I also really love these poetic words by Krishna in Ch. 7. And when I read Kate's comment about fragrance, I thought of my favorite verse in Ch. 7. But you seem to have missed it out in your reference above to verses 7-11; you have verses 7 & 8, and verses 10 & 11, but no 9….and this one Kate will really love…

          "I am the original fragrance of the earth, and I am the heat in fire. I am the life of all that lives, and I am the penances of all ascetics."

          Beautiful :)

          As for your question about my first date with the Gita? I looked at it briefly, gave it back to my brother and said, "You've got to be kidding….I'm not reading that!" It was about war and was simply a long list of unpronounceable names! He said, "Skip Ch. 1 and go to Ch. 2." I did, and I loved it :)

  5. Victoria says:

    4.19-31 uses the word fire to mean what? A purifying force?

    • Hi, Victoria. Great question. It can be answered at many levels. I'll just throw out a couple. You and other readers can decide which level suits you best.

      A purifying force? Yes, that's good, but I would say too limiting. It's a powerful metaphor for transcendent transformation. Fire transforms the ignited completely. So does the fire of Yoga, and the "fire of wisdom."

      Now, on the historical and religious level, Fire and ritual fire sacrifice were central features of the ancient Vedic culture from which the Gita emerged. So the metaphor of Fire would have been quite natural.

      For a fascinating description of the FIre God Agni see http://bit.ly/nTXagQ .

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  6. Tanya Lee Markul Tanya Lee Markul says:

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  7. Hi, Allen. Thanks for commenting.

    You are welcome to open up any topic any time. Even though we are reading sequentially, many of our discussion questions are wide open, like this blog itself, and they are meant to lead to wide open discussions.

    I decided along time ago not to try to try to artificially contain discussions within the bounds of any particular chapter.

    You'll appreciate that Mitchell thought so highly of Gandhi's essay on the Gita that he included the entire essay as an appendix to his otherwise very spare book.

    I like the Easwaran version very much, too, and his Upanishads translation and commentary are nothing short of ethereal.

    I think you'll also appreciate the extensive work I did in recasting the Gita thematically in Gita in a Nutshell: Big Ideas & Best Quotations. I knew the Gita was powerful. But I didn't truly realize how powerful until I did this project. Let me know what you think. (The cited stanzas are all available by just clicking on the theme.)

    Thanks for joining us here.

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  8. I think that's a fascinating and innovative analysis, chiara.

    Many people don't realize that Jobs was deeply steeped in Yoga and Buddhist philosophy all his life:

    Steve Jobs Sought Enlightenment in India After Dropping Out of College

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