Sunday, 31 January 2016


Let us take a selfie using this flower Arjuna...
Are you sure this will work?

Breakfast and the Gita. Over the last few days i have been reading the Gita. There is just so much inside it which is tremendous. While we could say that the Bible, Old and New Testament clearly came from some sort of a source, the way it was put together certainly, with the Gita, you can only marvel at its depth and wisdom. It like the difference between looking at a log cabin and gazing at the Pyramids. How the hell did whoever it is who wrote it did it? Then it becomes clear, they can't have written it. It is like the Tao Te Ching. No ONE person could have written it - maybe passed it down from generation to generation, but what is contains, this ineffable wisdom - that is surpasses all our understanding. It is like asking who created the mountains and the rivers - who? The universe created the Gita, that's who. And this was us, at the dawn of time, taking down notes and passing it down to others to admire the vista.

It is also clear where Bhudda got all his ideas from. Yes, ok he tweaked it here and there, but there is a lot in the Gita which you can see - yes, there it is, 90% of Bhuddism. I like the action part - also and paradoxically, action but non-doing. Also i like the detachment - and the various kinds of karma. I also like the insistence on balance. The problem with me was that all my life i have associated balance with repression. And can you blame me? I came from a VERY repressive society. Singapore is not the place to demonstrate balance. It was extreme. I am not blaming Singapore or my life history - just that it was hardly surprising that the first moment i had the opportunity to kick against it, i did.

It took me all of my twenties when i just was so filled with rage, and then my thirties, when i was filled with confusion, to eventually wash up here in my 40s. Between then and now i survived on gut instinct and outrage. The abuse of authority was of course wrong. It will always be wrong. But now i have far more effective and intelligent ways of dealing with it and i am a happier person for it. More content. Not anxious. Just, you know, chilled - most of the time.

So, in comes the Gita, just at the right time, when i can actually hear what it is saying. It is so very practical. Arjuna is us - the human soul, trying his best. It begins with war - people say oh war, this means the Gita advocated fighting. This is really stupid. It is like saying Christianity advocates crucifixion. Or that the Bhudda advocates suffering. There is no need to go out of our way to suffer or to be at war. To be born here, in this Earth, with our senses and our bodies, is to sign up to the suffering. What we do with this experience, how we approach it, that is everything. And thankfully we have been left with all kinds of waymakers - but the problem is that these waymarkers have become jumbled up and mixed up and some have been taken by assholes and used for their own means. Which means that we have been born here, on Earth, more or less. clueless, with a box of knicknacks and we have to figure everything out. Wow. To confuse things, everyone has different things in their box so really, while we can help each other, everyone has to figure out their own path. So i could say, hey have you read the Gita to my friend who has no interest in reading and they could say to me, hey have you gone for a salsa class... however the point being IS you can't tell anyone else how to do it - in order for them to truly understand it, they will have to go through it themselves.

My mother's great sadness was that i could not just be content with what i had been given. Once, in a fit of pique, my sister told me, you had everything and you chose to throw it away. But what if that everything was not only not making me happy, but also i realised would not make others happy as well? What is the point of having a poison, or taking part in the poisoning? It doesn't make sense. I had discovered long ago that the path which i had been set on was not the path for me. So i had to say goodbye to it. Often people accuse me of being irrational, but i am probably too rational. If something does not make sense, after serious inquiry, one should stop doing it, not say, ah well, sure everyone else is doing it anyway, it must be alright.

So i set out on this wild journey - half way across the world, doing things which i had no clue about and then ending up here - doing this now. Making use of parts of myself, learning things which otherwise i would never know.

Also as i get older things which were important to me then are not so important to me now (maybe because i have got it out of my system) and things which seemed impossible then are not so impossible now. It is like i have learned a bit more and i have always been rubbish at experimenting - which i know sounds weird - i mean i should say not good at doing things which have never made sense - but now i feel ready to do things which i had never done before. I am a calmer, more balanced person. I am prepared to let more things go. I think this is a good thing... into this steps the Gita.

I am hoping to reread it but it says things like - there is no substitute for action. Yoga (or balance) is everything - in fact it also says that inner balance is more important than hatha yoga, although it is important to note that things you do with your body are also good for your spirit - in fact it is the other way round - we have two kinds of karma - the second kind, action without karma is very important - in other words, like the Metta Sutra, Do nothing which the wise would reprove. I suppose much of the Gita is like the Metta Sutra.

Arjuna also is such a great device. He has all the questions which we have BEFORE we have them for Krisna to answer. This does two things - first it lets Krisna answer these questions. But it also shows that as human beings we have always had these questions. Always. Any doubt we experience is not new. What is new all the time, is the need for surrender.

What is also fantastic about the Gita is that you do not have to believe in a deity in order to follow it. In fact, it is a distraction when the ritual and the puja becomes the entire point of the exercise. What is more important is the idea that we are not alone in the cosmos - that there is a larger, more noble, kinder, gentler, stronger force which we can tap into - and that means everything. That we can leave our hearts at the lotus feet of the Lord and go into battle.

Also truly incredible about the Gita is that nothing in it is nonsense. Everything is backed up by fact to the nth degree. This is what makes reading it such a thoroughly satisfying exercise. Yes, that makes sense. Or i don't get this, but i will come back to it. It is really a full scale workout for the brain. But also part of it is reminding you of something. It is like a deep tissue massage for the spirit.

The worst thing in life i think is to have never known yourself, to have never taken the opportunity to individuate because you were too frightened. Do not be afraid the Gita says - this is the reason who came here. Do not be afraid of leaving your family, your history, your roots, your purpose here is to do precisely that. And the reason is not so that you can be a special snowflake. No - it is to bring new impulses into the world. You bring in something new to this life - if you were to be like your father or or mother, where would be the progress in that? No - you are yourself and you must fight your way to being that person. Free yourself from the shackles of preconception - see the truth for what it truly is.

What a gloriously tall order! Surely that is something which is worth coming into this life for. And now, on that high, i will do the laundry. I love having clean laundry.

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