Debunked Pseudoscience & Religion

The God of Gods Battles Brahmanism: Vaasudeva, Krishna and the Bhagavata Revolution

The complete series, The Truth About The Bhagavad Gita, By Dr. Prabhakar Kamath, can be accessed here.

In the previous article, we studied how the Gita became the battlefield on which the Great Sectarian War took place for the Soul of Sanatana Dharma, and how after the wily Brahmins routed naïve Upanishadists once again the Bhagavatas entered the fray. Obviously the power of Super Man (Purushotthama, 15:18) and his “strong weapon” Buddhiyoga (15:3) were no match to the “firm-rooted eternal tree with its roots above and branches below” (15:1-3). A whole new God with terrifying appearance and awesome powers was needed to chop down this rotten tree.

1. Enter God Of Gods

Now Vaasudeva, God of gods, puts on his terrifying appearance, arms himself to his tusks (11:17), and enters the battlefield of the Gita to fight Brahmanism.

11:23-24: Seeing your immeasurable form with myriad mouths and eyes, with innumerable arms, thighs and feet, with countless stomachs, and terrible with many tusks -the worlds are terror-struck, and so am I. When I see you touching the sky, blazing with colors, with mouth wide open, with large fiery eyes, my heart trembles in fear and I find neither courage nor peace.

2. Goals Of Vaasudeva

  1. To establish a Bhagavata Dharma centered on himself. He is the Guardian of the Ancient Dharma (11:18) and Dharma himself (14:27).
  2. To take the place of Brahman (7:19; 10:12; 11:38) and Atman (10:20; 15:15).
  3. To develop the super-weapon Bhaktiyoga by combining Bhakthi with Buddhiyoga (9:26-28; 10:10). Bhakthiyoga would be the new modus operandi by which one could transcend the Brahmanic doctrines of the Gunas and Karma (18:66).
  4. To reduce the Vedas and Yajnas (11:48, 53); the Vedic gods (18:39), the Varna Dharma (9:29-33) and Brahmins (16:21-24).
  5. To swallow up all icons of Brahmanism (11:21-22).
  6. Replace Shokam (grief) and Dwandwam (stress, restlessness of mind engendered by the Gunas) here on earth with Shanthi (peace, 9:31).
  7. Replace heaven as the goal of Action (9:20) with Moksha (18:66).

3. Bhagavata Creed

Bhagavatism was an ancient monotheistic creed centered on Lord Vaasudeva and its mode of worship was known as Bhakthi, which means adoring bhagsuper-borderdevotion. This monotheistic cult was popular in western part of north India at least three centuries before the Christian era. Lord Vaasudeva was declared as ‘God of gods’ on the column of Heliodorus situated in Besnaga, five miles from Sanchi, India. This pillar, dated around 113 B. C. E., bears the inscription:

“This Garuda-column of Vaasudeva, the God of gods, was erected here by Heliodorus, a worshipper of Visnu, the son of Dion, and an inhabitant of Taxila, who came as Greek ambassador from the Great King Antialkidas to King Kasiputra Bhagabhadra, the Savior, then reigning prosperously in the fourteenth year of his kingship.”

4. Krishna

Like Vaasudeva, Krishna is even a more ancient name in Brahmanic literature. In the Vedas, someone by the name of Krishna was Indra’s favorite enemy, being the god of the local tribe named after him. Chandogya Upanishad (Ca. 700 B. C. E) (3:17:6) mentions Krishna as son of Devaki and student of Ghora Angirasa. In the early parts of the Mahabharata, he is the younger prince of Yadava confederacy. After the insertion of the Arjuna Vishada, his stature in the Mahabharata grew steadily. In the 4th century B. C. E., Megasthenes the Greek ambassador to the court of Chandragupta Maurya said, “the Sourasenoi (Surasena), who lived in the region of Mathura worshipped Herakles.” This Herakles is usually identified with Krishna (Hari-Kula-Eesha, Lord of Hari Kulam). The word Kulam means family or clan. Somewhere along the way the identity of Vaasudeva merged with that of Krishna.

With these evidences in mind, it is not hard to imagine that the Bhagavata revolution in the Bhagavad Gita, with the goal to establish a broad-based, egalitarian, ritual-free and monotheistic Dharma centered solely on Krishna, might have taken place some time in the second century B. C. E. Centuries later Bhagavatism evolved into Vaishnavism, the sect centered on Vishnu. In the Bhagavad Gita, however, Vishnu was only the foremost among Adityas, the Sun gods (10:21) and Arjuna addresses Krishna as “O Vishnu” (11:24) once. Krishna identifies Vaasudeva as Supreme God by stating, “Vaasudeva is all this is” (7:19), reflecting the Upanishadic dictum, “Brahman is all this is.” Moreover, he announces, “Of the Vrishnis I am Vaasudeva” (10:37). He is referred twice more as Vaasudeva in the Bhagavad Gita (11:50, 18:74). Krishna is declared as “God of gods” thrice in the Bhagavad Gita (11:13, 25, 45).

5. Character Of Krishna

Krishna of the Mahabharata is perhaps one of the most colorful characters in the history of world literature. In his role as prince Krishna he was endowed with wonderful virtues of wisdom, generosity, kindness, mercy, intellect, strength, courage, martial skills, shrewdness, fearlessness, fairness, graciousness, steadiness, level-headedness and many more. He was also noted to be intolerant of fools and evil people. He was ruthless when necessary and cunning at times. Considering all these wonderful qualities attributed to him, no wonder all sides used him to browbeat the other.

6. Five Roles Of Krishna In The Bhagavad Gita

  1. Prince Krishna of Arjuna Vishada: In the Mahabharata epic, he starts outs as the younger prince of the Yadava tribe, who befriends the Pandava princes with a large cache of handsome wedding gifts (1 [13] 191. 15). As prince Krishna, he is very much the defender of Brahmanism. In the Mahabharata (2:26:42:15), just before chopping off Shishupala’s head, he says, “This fool who must want to die, once proposed himself to Rukmini (Krishna’s wife), but the fool no more obtained her than a Sudra a hearing of the Vedas!” As we read earlier, he delivered a lecture on virtues of Varna Dharma to Arjuna in the episode of Arjuna Vishada.
  2. Guru Krishna of the Upanishads (2:7): In an effort to overthrow Brahmanism, Upanishadists appoint him as the anti-Brahmanic Upanishadic Guru who condemns Brahmanism right and left (2:39-53; 15:1-5).
  3. Lord of beings of the Upanishads (4:6-8): In this role, he establishes Upanishadic Dharma resting on the doctrines of Brahman/Atman and Buddhiyoga, and reforms Brahmins by instructing them Jnanayoga and Kshatriyas by Karmayoga.
  4. Lord of beings of Resurgent Brahmanism (17:1; 18:1): In this role he reinstates Yajnas and the Gunas, and destroys everything Upanishadic Lord of beings did.
  5. Vaasudeva, God of Gods (11:13) of Bhagavatas: In this capacity he declares himself as the Eternal Dharma (14:27) and defender of Sanatana Dharma (11:18). He exhorts people to abandon all other Dharmas and take refuge in him alone, and he would deliver them from all evil of the doctrines of Brahmanism (18:66).

7. A New Ideology And Modus Operandi

As we discussed in the previous article, the ideology of Brahman/Atman (“not this, not this”) and modus operandi of Yoga (Sanyasa and Tyaga) were so complex that ordinary people had difficulty grasping it. A simpler ideology and modus operandi was needed. Bhagavata Krishna explains:

9:1-3: To you who do not cavil, I shall surely declare this, the most profound knowledge combined with realization by knowing which you will be released from evil (of the Gunas and Karma). The sovereign science, the sovereign secret, the supreme purifier is this, directly realizable, in accord with Dharma, very easy to practice and imperishable.

Note here that like Upanishadic Lord of beings did (4:1-2), Bhagavata Krishna also identifies Kshatriyas as the originators of his ideology. He points out that unlike Yoga of the Upanishads, his modus operandi is very easy to practice. All you have to do is to dive on the floor before the idol, close your eyes, join your hands and say, “I surrender to you, O Lord!” No thinking is required or necessary.

8. Supreme Lord Replaces Brahman

So, Supreme Lord with infinite attributes (Saguna) replaces Brahman without any attributes (Nirguna). Since Krishna is the embodiment of the Supreme Lord, it is easier for people to visualize and conceptualize him. Arjuna identifies Krishna as the Supreme:

10:12: You are the Supreme Brahman, the Supreme Abode, the Supreme Purifier, the Eternal, Divine Purusha, the Primeval Deity, the Unborn, the Omnipresent.

Now Krishna declares that he is Atman in the heart of all people:

10:20, 15:15: I am the Self, O Gudakesha, seated in the hearts of all beings.

9. Bhakthi plus Buddhiyoga Becomes Bhakthiyoga

Krishna explains why a new modus operandi was needed:

12:5: Greater is their difficulty whose minds are set on the Un-manifested (Brahman), for the goal of the Un-manifested is very hard for the embodied to reach.

Bhagavatas combine Bhakthi with Buddhiyoga:

9:14: Glorifying Me always, striving, firm in vows, prostrating before Me, they worship Me with Bhakthi, ever steadfast. 10:10: To those who lovingly worship Me with steadfast Bhakthi, I give the Yoga of Buddhi by which they come to Me. 18:55-56: By Bhakti he knows Me in truth, what and who I am; then having known Me in truth, he forthwith enters into Me (attain Moksha). Mentally resigning all deeds to Me, having Me as the highest goal, resorting to Buddhiyoga, do you ever fix your mind on Me.

Arjuna asks, “Which mode of worship is better, Bhakthi or Yoga?” Krishna explains that when one makes him the object of Yoga, the modus operandi becomes Bhakthiyoga:

12:2: Those who have fixed their minds on me (instead of Brahman), and who, ever steadfast and endowed with supreme Shraddha, worship me -them I do consider perfect in Yoga. 12:4: Having restrained all the Senses (Gunas), even-minded everywhere (becoming Buddhiyukta), engaged in welfare of all beings (and not just the upper classes), verily they also come to Me (gain Knowledge of Me).

10. Krishna Becomes The Guardian Of Sanatana Dharma And Also Dharma Himself

Just as Upanishadists appointed Krishna as Lord of beings to establish Upanishadic Dharma (4:6-8) and protect it from vested interests, now Bhagavatas appoint Lord Krishna as the guardian of Sanatana Dharma as well as the very embodiment of Dharma:

11:18: You are the Imperishable, the Supreme Being to be realized. You are the great treasure house of the universe. You are the Imperishable Guardian of Eternal Dharma. You are the ancient Purusha, I deem.

Krishna affirms: 14:27: I am the Abode of Brahman, the Immortal, and Immutable, the Eternal Dharma and Absolute Bliss.

11. Krishna Declares Prakriti As His Lower Manifestation

To establish his supremacy over Prakriti, Krishna places Himself at the head of every class of living and non-living entity known to mankind. Unlike Brahman’s “Not this, not this!” Krishna says, “I am this and this and this!” Whereas Brahman was Nirguna (devoid of Gunas), Krishna was Saguna (full of good attributes). By doing this, he claimed supremacy over Prakriti and all its manifestations.

7:4-7: Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intellect and egoism; thus is My lower Prakriti divided eightfold. This is My lower Prakriti, but different from it, know, O mighty armed, My higher Prakriti -the life element by which this universe is upheld. Know that these two are the wombs of all beings. I am the origin and dissolution of the whole universe. There is nothing whatsoever higher than Me, O Dhananjaya. All this is strung on Me, as rows of gems on a string.

12. Krishna Offers Himself As Refuge Against The Gunas Of Prakriti

First Krishna declares that the Gunas were his creation but distinct from him. Whereas the Gunas are mutable, he is immutable. It is the deluding power of the Gunas that makes him beyond one’s reach. However, one could cross over their bewildering powers if one took refuge in him.

7:12-14: Whatever beings are of Sattva, of Rajas or of Tamas, know them to proceed from Me. Still I am not in them, they are in Me. Deluded by these threefold dispositions of Prakriti -the Gunas, this world does not know Me, who am above them and immutable. Verily this divine illusion of Mine, made up of the Gunas, is hard to surmount; but those who take refuge in Me alone, they cross over this illusion.

13. Dedicate Deeds To Krishna To Transcend The Law Of Karma

By dedicating one’s deeds to Parameshwara instead of Brahman (5:10) one does not earn any Karmaphalam and so he transcends the Law of Karma and attains Moksha:

9:27-28: Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer in sacrifice, whatever you gift away, whatever austerity you practice, do it as an offering to Me. Thus you shall be free from the bondage of Karma yielding good as well as bad results. With the mind firmly set in the Yoga of renunciation, you shall come to Me (you shall attain Moksha).

8:15: Having come to Me, the great souls are no more subject to rebirth, which is transitory and abode of pain; for they have reached the highest perfection.

Krishna tells Yogis to dedicate their deeds to him from now onwards in order to transcend Samsara:

12:6-7: Those who worship Me, renouncing all Karmaphalam in Me (dedicating all deeds to Me), regarding Me as the Supreme Goal, meditating on Me with singe-minded Yoga, I become to them the deliverer from mortal Samsara.

14. Krishna Absorbs All Brahmanic Elements Into Himself

Now Krishna claims that he is the source of all the Devas and the great sages of Brahmanism:

10:2: Neither the hosts of Devas nor the great Rishis know My origin (for they are deluded by the Gunas); for in every respect I am the source of Devas and the great Rishis.

Arjuna affirms: 11:21: These hosts of Devas indeed enter into You; some in awe extol You with joined palms…. 11:39: You are Vayu, Yama, Agni, Varuna, the Moon, Prajapati, and the Great-grandfather. Salutation, salutation to You, a thousand times, and again and again, salutations to You.

To scare the hell out of Brahmanism, he shows his Universal Form, which is described in great detail. All the Brahmanic elements, “Enter hurrying into your mouth, terrible with tusks and fearful to look at. Some are found sticking in the gaps between the teeth with their crushed to powder (11:27).

15. As The Lord Of All Yajna Krishna Condemns Kamya Karma

Just as Upanishadic Lord of beings declared that all aspects of Yajna is made up of all-pervading Brahman (4:14), Bhagavata Krishna declares that all aspects of Yajna are made up of him. Now he is the lord of all Yajna:

9:16: I am Kratu, I am Yajna. I am Svadha, I am medicinal herb, I am Mantra, I am also the clarified butter, I am fire, I am oblation.

Krishna explains that the problem with Kamya Karma is that earning Karmaphalam merely perpetuates Samsara:

9:20: The knowers of the three Vedas, the drinkers of Soma, (purified from sin), worshipping (Me) Devas by sacrifices (Kamya Karma), pray for the way to heaven. (Having earned Karmaphalam) they reach the holy world of the Lord of the Devas (Indra) and enjoy in heaven the celestial pleasures of Devas.

The sole purpose of the original version of this shloka and the following five shlokas was to show that those who get drunk on Soma and worship Devas by means of Kamya Karma go to heaven and come back to earth again and again; and in contrast, those who worship Krishna alone attain Moksha. Some later ignorant Brahmanic and Bhagavata authors corrupted the above shloka by adding the phrase ‘purified from sin’ and by replacing Devas with ‘Me.’ These dullards did not know that Vedic Yajnas were always dedicated to Devas (4:12; 17: 4, 14), and never dedicated to Krishna, and no one was ever purified of sin by means of drinking Soma and performing Kamya Karma. To Upanishadists and Bhagavatas every Karmaphalam was sin because it perpetuated Samsara. This is a classic example of how various sects recklessly corrupted the Gita without understanding the fundamentals of their own sects. How do we know this to be the case? Krishna explains:

9:21: Having enjoyed the vast world of heaven, they return to the world of mortals on exhaustion of their merits (Karmaphalam); thus abiding by the injunction of three Vedas, desiring objects of desires (lordship and heaven) they come and go (are born again and again).

If these ritualists should not worship Devas by Kamya Karma, how then do they fulfill their desires here on earth and hereafter? Krishna offers to help them out:

9:22: To those men who worship Me alone, thinking of no other (such as Vedic gods), who are ever devoted to Me, I provide gain and security (here on earth).

What if ritualists continued to worship Vedic gods with Shraddha in the mode of the Gunas, as they wanted to in 17:1?

9:23: Even those devotees who, endowed with Shraddha, worship other gods, they worship Me alone, but by wrong method.

Why is this so? Who are you, anyway?

9:24: I am verily the Enjoyer and Lord of all Yajnas. But these men (ritualists) do not know Me in reality (due to ignorance engendered by their attachment to sense objects); Hence they fall (back to earth).

Why is worshipping the Devas (4:12; 17:4), ancestral spirits (1:42) and ghosts (17:4) wrong? Because:

9:25: Votaries of Devas go to Devas (and return again and again as noted above); votaries of Pitrus (ancestral spirits) go to the Pitrus; to the Bhutas (ghosts) go the Bhuta worshippers; My votaries come to Me (attain Moksha and are never born again).

The point Krishna makes in the above six shlokas is that if ritualists want gain and security here on earth and Moksha hereafter, they must worship him alone and no one else. If they want to suffer Shokam, and Dwandwam here on earth and rebirth hereafter, they should worship other gods.

16. Krishna Blasts Brahmins And Declares The Gunas As Gates To Hell!

Addressing those Brahmins who asked permission to perform Yajnas in the mode of three Gunas against the ordinances of Upanishads (17:1), Bhagavata Krishna blasts:

16:21-24: Triple are these gates of hell (the three Gunas), destructive of the self -lust, anger and greed (which are rooted in them, 3:37); therefore one should abandon these three (Gunas). The man who is liberated from these three gates to darkness practices what is good for him (Yoga) and thus goes to the Supreme Good (Moksha). He who, casting aside the ordinances of the scriptures, acts on impulse of desire (performs Kamya Karma) attains not perfection, nor happiness (here on earth) nor the Supreme Goal (hereafter). Therefore, let the scriptures (the Upanishads) be your authority in deciding what ought to be done and what ought not to be done. Having known what is said in the ordinances of the scriptures you should act here.

Countering Brahmanic claim that one can attain Moksha by the Vedic ideology and Yajnas as modus operandi (17:25), and in line with the oft-repeated Upanishadic declaration that one cannot gain Brahman by the Vedas, Krishna declares:

11:48: Neither by the study of the Vedas, nor by Yajnas, nor by gifts, nor by rituals, nor by severe penances, can this form of Mine be seen in the world of men by anyone else but you, O hero of Kurus!

17. Krishna Lambastes Arrogant Kshatriyas Sponsoring Kamya Karma

Krishna mercilessly condemns Kshatriyas who, driven by Kama and Krodha, obsessively performed Kamya Karma disregarding Upanishadic Lord of being’s injunction against it:

16:10-17: Filled with insatiable desire, full of hypocrisy, pride and arrogance, holding evil ideas through delusion, they work (perform Kamya Karma) with impure resolve (to gain sense objects for themselves). Beset with immense cares ending only with death, regarding gratification of lust as the highest, and feeling sure that that is all. Bound by a hundred ties of hope, given over to lust and jealous rage, they strive by unjust means hoards of wealth for sensual enjoyment. “This today has been gained by me; this desire I shall fulfill; this is mine, and this wealth also shall be mine in future. That enemy has been slain by me, and others also shall I slay. I am a lord, I enjoy, I am successful, powerful and happy. I am rich and well-born. What else is equal to me? I will sacrifice, I will give alms, I will rejoice.” Thus deluded by ignorance, bewildered by many a fancy, enmeshed in the snare of delusion, addicted to gratification of lust, they fall into foul hell. Self-conceited, stubborn, filled with pride and intoxication of wealth, they perform sacrifices in the name of ostentation, disregarding ordinances.

18. Krishna Warns Recalcitrant Brahmanic Critics

Vaasudeva Krishna says some very harsh words to those in the Brahmanic fold who opposed him tooth and nail. Lord Krishna issues repeated warnings to those who dared to oppose him or his teachings or his Dharma. He calls them demonic, deluded, fools, vain, and what not.

7:15: The evildoers (those indulging in Kamya Karma), the deluded (by the Gunas), the lowest of men (due to their entanglement with sense objects), deprived of discrimination by Maya (the Gunas) and following the way of the Asuras (demons), do not seek refuge in me.

9:11-12: Fools disregard me as one clad in human form, not knowing my higher nature as the Great Lord of beings. They are of vain hopes, of vain actions, of vain knowledge, devoid of discrimination, partaking verily of the delusive nature of Rakshasas and Asuras.

16:18-20: Given over to egoism, power, insolence, lust and wrath, these malicious people hate me in their own bodies and those of others. Those cruel haters, worst among men in the world, I hurl these evildoers forever into the wombs of the demons only. Entering into the Demonic wombs, the deluded ones, in birth after birth, without ever reaching me, they fall into a condition even lower.

19. Krishna Throws The Doors Of His Dharma Wide Open To All

Defying Varna Dharma, Krishna declares himself as the equalizer of all classes of people:

7:16: Four types of virtuous men worship Me, O Arjuna: the man in distress (Vaishya/Sudra/outcastes), the man seeking knowledge (Brahmin), the man seeking wealth (Kshatriya) and the man imbued with wisdom (Yogi), O the best of the Bharatas.

9:29-33: I am the same to all beings; to Me there is none hateful, none dear (I do not discriminate against people of any particular Varna). But those who worship Me with devotion, they are in Me and I am in them (regardless of their Varna). Even if a man of the most sinful conduct worships Me with undeviating devotion, he must be reckoned as rightly resolved. Soon does he become a man of righteousness and obtains lasting peace. O Kaunteya, know for certain that My devotee never perishes.

For those who take refuge in Me, O Partha, though they may be of inferior birth -women, Vaishyas and Sudras- even they attain the Supreme Goal. How much more then the holy Brahmins and devoted royal saints! Having come into this transient, joyless world, do worship Me.

20. The Secret Code of the Bhagavad Gita:

18:66: Abandon all Dharmas and surrender unto Me alone. I shall liberate you from all evil (engendered by the doctrines of the Gunas and Karma); do not grieve.

This is the profoundest of all shlokas in the Bhagavad Gita, which contains the essence of Bhagavata Dharma as well as the Bhagavata revolution to overthrow Brahmanism. The proper context of this shloka is historical-revolutionary. This shloka does not have Arjuna Vishada context. Let us review the real purpose and spirit of this shloka. Having overthrown Brahmanic Dharma in the Bhagavata Gita, the Krishna summarizes the essence of His revolution:

Abandon all Dharma: Abandon all other Dharmas on the land: Brahmanism and all its sub-Dharmas such as Varna Dharma, Jati Dharma and Kula Dharma (1:43); Dharmas worshiping Pitrus (ancestors, 1:42) and Bhutas (ghosts, 9:25); Buddhism, Jainism, Ajivika, Lokayata, and myriads of other sects, which had arisen in revolt against decadent Brahmanism during the post-Vedic period of 900-200 B. C. E.

Surrender unto Me alone: For, from now onwards ‘I am the Eternal Dharma’ (14:27). If you take refuge in Me alone and no one else (such as Prakriti and Vedic gods), I shall fulfill all your desires (4:11; 9:22) and liberate you from Samsara (12:7).

I shall liberate you from all evil: By taking refuge in Me, I shall liberate you from the three great evils of mankind arising from the Gunas and Karma: Shokam, Dwandwam and Karmaphalam. By taking refuge in Me alone, you shall overcome the doctrine of the Gunas of Prakriti (7:14; 14:20); thus you shall overcome Dwandwam of mind. By realizing Me as the Eternal Atman in everyone’s heart (10:20; 15:15) you shall not suffer Shokam any more. Thus by conquering Shokam and Dwandwam, you shall attain lasting Shanthi (Peace) here on earth (9:31). By dedicating all your deeds to Me alone, you shall not earn any Karmaphalam (sin) and thus you shall defy the Law of Karma, end Samsara and attain Moksha (9:26-28; 12:6-7).

Do not grieve: And those of you who have been aggrieved by the decadence of Brahmanism and inequities of Varna Dharma, verily I say unto you: There is no need to grieve anymore for from now onwards Varna Dharma is irrelevant to those who have transcended the Gunas and Karma by Bhakthiyoga.

21. Is It Blissful Ignorance Or Manipulative Genius?

Today, in thousands of temples across India, Brahmanic loyalists worship Krishna with ostentatious Brahmanic rituals clueless to the fact that the reason why Bhagavatas appointed Vaasudeva-Krishna as the God of Gods in the Bhagavad Gita was to end these very rituals symbolic of decadent Brahmanism! Even though they all claim to revere the Bhagavad Gita, they ignore Krishna’s order to worship him alone and no one else, and worship hundred of gods by means of thousands of rituals. Whether this is a sign of stupendous ignorance or passive-aggressive genius of Brahmanism is anyone’s guess.

In the next article, we will study how Brahmanic editors resorted to extreme editing of the Bhagavad Gita to hide both the Upanishadic and Bhagavata revolutions; and also how medieval Brahmanic commentators, such as Shankaracharya (788-820 A. D), wrote lengthy obfuscating commentaries for the same purpose. The reader will have to decide if he was a manipulative genius who deliberately hid the anti-Brahmanic intent of the Bhagavad Gita in his obfuscating commentaries, or just a clueless Acharya who cooked-up something to cover-up his ignorance about their historical-revolutionary context.

(To be continued)

Dr. Prabhakar Kamath, is a psychiatrist currently practicing in the U.S. He is the author of Servants, Not Masters: A Guide for Consumer Activists in India (1987) and Is Your Balloon About Pop?: Owner’s Manual for the Stressed Mind.

About the author

Prabhakar Kamath

Dr. Prabhakar Kamath, is a psychiatrist currently practicing in the U.S. He is the author of Servants, Not Masters: A Guide for Consumer Activists in India (1987) and Is Your Balloon About To Pop?: Owner’s Manual for the Stressed Mind.

Links to all articles in Dr. Kamath's earlier series on Heretics, Rebels, Reformers and Revolutionaries can be found here. Dr. Kamath' series on The Truth About The Bhagavad Gita can be found here.

11 Comments

  • You are writing a lovely series, Dr. Kamath. I’ve wondered why the Gita had some militant verses (You will only believe in me or else…) that sounded quite similar to violent passages in Christianity/Islam. But when viewed against the right historical context, they seem to make sense.

    Krishna wasn’t threatening normal people. He was threatening people who indulged in mindless ritual and yagnic hedonism.

  • You are right. A particular statement in any scripture makes proper sense only when we know its proper context. Hindu religious leaders who interpret these shlokas without knowing their proper context come across as confused. Naturally, people who read their commentaries also become confused. If we did not know that Krishna was scolding Kshatriyas and Brahmins indulging in hedonistic Yajnas, we would not know who he was scolding and so the whole of the Bhagavad Gita would come across as incomprehensible. You have made very good points.

  • There seems to be preponderance of anti-Hindu articles on Nirmukta under the guise of ‘free thinking’, whereas a genuinely ‘rationalist’ site would have critical articles on all religions and more so the organized ones….Can somebody explain?

  • There is this right wing blog called http://www.sandeepweb.com. I was surprised at the tepid reaction there to the Russian court’s indictment of the Gita as a book of hate.
    Now I know why. Some of the commentators even went to the extent of labelling the gita as an ordinary piece of work.

  • This article seems to portray Krishna – atleast the historical Krishna as some kind of a noble human being worthy of being emulated and even worshipped as Supreme God.

    The reality is far from the truth. The Historical Krishna atleast as we know from the scriptures was far from moral. Lusting for women, stealing clothes from bathing women to look at them naked, repeatedly lying many times in the Mahabharata war to justify killing of Drona, Karna and injuring Bheesma.

    Far from being worthy of being emulated or worshipped as so called supreme god, I know of Girls who are so deluded with the Krishna delusion that they told me that they dream every night for Krishna-the God to come and have Sex.

    If this the sort of morality that Krishna is espousing then he is hardly a person to be praised off Mr. Kamath.

  • Read Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay’s Krishna Charitra. You will see most of what we believe about Krishna is actually from the Puranas which are later day interpolations. The earliest core text of the Mahabharata portrays Krishna as a historical prince, administrator and moral leader. The part about his divinity, his love for gopis, his treachery etc were added by later authors to either extol him(Vaishnavas) or demean him (Non-Vaishnavas). Actually comparing the Gita with other speeches given by Krishna it is possible that he spoke the original Gita and if the doctrine of selfless action also was invented by him.

  • You are wrong peter parker spidee, Mittanni is basically a hurrian-armenian kingdom in syria ruled by a handful of indo aryan elite. This kingdom existed till 1200 BCE. Iran had indo iranians by 2000 BCE and most scholars who support an Indo aryan migration believes that India had them by 1750 or 1500 BCE

  • Advantage of having Multiple Gods

    Advantage of having Multiple Gods

    There are various reasons why many Gods exists in Hinduism. In sanAtana dharma, there is deep study of the workings and nature of mind and on subtle bodies. Mind is very important to study as we all live by our mind. Spirituality is direct dealing with mind. It is said that mind is the reason for bondage (bandhan) and mind alone is the cause of liberation (mukti). Both bandhan and mukti are within mind. Happiness and sorrow are both states of mind. Sanyāsa is a state of mind and not a way of living. Whatever form we want to see is visualized or imagined by mind alone. Different forms of Gods, their expressions and body language seen in idols and statues depend upon the mindset of artist. No one has actually seen either Visṇu or Śiva.

    Mind does not remain steady in one state. It keeps changing it’s mood. Form and character of Rāma may suit one person, while form of Kṛsṇa another, form of Śiva or shakti (Śakti) to another. In some cases it happens that due to changing nature of mind, mind may get saturated with repetitive tasks and reading same stories again and again and focusing on one way of living, worshiping one form of God. S/he can shift his/her attention to another God, say from Kṛṣṇa to Śiva. Both have different characteristics and different ways of worships. Śiva has very different character than Rāma or Kṛsṇa. Mind might just get change that it needed. Compassion, guilelessness, peaceful nature, accepting all be it downtrodden, demons or even ghosts as devotees shows Śiva’s big heart. One can now cultivate these qualities by worshipping Śiva. S/he has already acquired certain qualities by worshipping Kṛṣṇa like surrender, faith in God, devotion and longing for God. Longing for the unconditional Love (of spiritual nature) is well connected with Kṛṣṇa. Longing for God is very important state of mind.

    A man should practice spiritual discipline and pray to God with a longing heart for love at his lotus feet. – Sri Ramakrishna

    Longing is like a rosy dawn.after the dawn, out comes Sun. Longing is followed by the vision of God. – Sri Ramakrishna

    Longing is the means of Realising Ātman. – Kathā Upanishad

    Rāma stands for obedience, and ideal king, son, brother, husband, disciple and guru. But is most important quality is awareness. Rāma is never shown without his bow and arrow. They represent alertness. Rāma represents ‘wakefulness’. You must always remain alert that no negative thought ever influence you.

    We will discuss meanings of names in details in a later article, ‘Detailed description of meaning of names of Popular Gods’

    After understanding few popular names, let us continue to understand the benefits of contemplating on personal God.

    When contemplating or gazing or chanting mantra whatever is our intention we get. Suppose we listen to stuti of Bhagavān Rāma which eulogize his quality of ‘obedience’ and then we chant his name, our mind will be long for the quality of obedience since it is impressed by this quality. As and when we listen to stuti-s glorifying one or other quality, our mind will tend to remember it. They get itched in our heart and mind. Now when we chant his name, these qualities will gradually begin to manifest in us. Rāma, who is already residing in our heart will make these qualities manifest within us.

    We will now discuss importance of multiple Gods with respect of vibrations and energy centers.

    Depending upon mindset and depending upon the basic predominant qualities, mind is attracted to a greater extend towards one form of God than another. Based on vibrations of subtle body (prāṇamaya kosha, energy body), one bīja mantra suits or is more effective than other mantra. This true where more than one mantra is attributed to one form of God. For example, ‘Śrī Rāma Jai Rāma Jai Jai Rāma’, ‘Śrī Rāma rāmāya namaḥ’ and ‘Śrī Rāmachandrāya namaḥ’ all have different effects. (the real name of maryādā puruṣottama Prabhu Śrī Rāma is Śrī Rāmachandra’. ‘Rāma is the birth name of ‘Bhagavān Paraśurāma’ and ‘Bhagavān Balarāma’. ‘Śrī Kṛṣṇa śaraṇam namaḥ’ and ‘OM namo bhagavate Vāsudevāya’ also have different effects on mind and subtle bodies as they generate different unique vibrations.

    In this sense, different forms of Gods, their bīja mantra-s (beej mantra-s), their divine character, their divine life and incidents related to them, predominant qualities exhibited by them each have unique effect on our mind and hence on our personality. Hence in ancient days, children were imparted moral and ethical values by mothers singing stories from purāṇa-s glorifying different Gods. Divine qualities like valour, strength, respecting others views, respecting elders, respecting wisdom of even enemies, importance of adhering to truth, etc are cultivated in hearts of innocent kids, which will form a solid foundation of their character and the way they think.

    Alas this tradition is fading away as morally and ethics have taken a backseat in our life, since we are busy blindly emulating the west even at the cost of degrading our morality and ethics. Whatever is good has to be adopted, but why become so much materialistic so as to become uncaring for others or for society by neglecting moral and ethical values. Everyone is busy focusing on IQ (Intelligence Quotient), but not many seem to be focusing on EQ (Emotional Quotient), which is very important to bind family and society. Mind is derived from nurturing to the fullest. Our Inner voice, our conscience should not be let to die out of starvation. It should not be neglected. We must trust our inner voice and act accordingly. We must keep feeding it by giving it importance in our life and let it remain alive and vibrant. It is there to help us and not to harm us or to make us superstitious. Let’s return back to the topic.

    It is said that each one of us is born with some pre-dominant qualities and that we have some pre-determined destiny that we must pass through. Here the question arises that if we are born with a particular nature, what is the need to cultivate qualities. The answer is, what we perceive depends upon how we think and how we interpret any situation. It is not said that new saṃskāra-s cannot be embedded in our hearts. Qualities are like fire. It can be used for both constructive and destructive purpose. Fire can cook food and hence gives us life. Fire is life saver, yet fire can burn us. Suppose a child is born with violent tendency. We can impart qualities like adhering to truth, justice and fighting for the oppressed. Such a child is expected to pick up arms. But picking up arms is not in itself a destructive act. One can either become an underworld Don or an encounter specialist. There is violence in both of them, but one’s violence is triggered by destructive intention, while that of other, violence is triggered as a result of revolt against injustice and necessity to punish the wicked. Intention or motive behind action is important than action itself. Saṁskāra-s give direction to our qualities (guṇa-s). Our saṁskāra-s make us what we are.

    Simple explanation of certain concepts in purāṇa-s can be easily explained to kids. Later on deeper meaning, alternate meanings are explained as they mature spirituality. Multiple Gods helps us cultivate emotions, ethical, moral values and spiritual values. They shape they way we think. Wide variety of stories having same moral of the story help us embed certain qualities without making them boring. They our identity. They shape our future. These so-called mythological stories are what makes ‘us’.

    Due to the above reasons, though each one of us has one Īshṭa devatā or one family deity, we are not forbidden to worship or eulogize other forms of Gods until one reaches sufficient inner purity. After certain qualities are sufficiently developed in an individual, one’s mind becomes stable. Now one can focus only on one God who is his/her Īsṭa devatā or chosen deity that is suitable to his/her psychic.

    For beginners who have wavering mind, worshipping multiple Gods helps one keep boredom away and keeps the weak and restless mind connected to spirituality.

    In addition to shaping our mind, multiple Gods opens doors of artists, giving them many ways to express their arts, be it sculptures or paintings or be it composing dance, songs, poems, novels and other literature not of spiritual nature. Qualities express themselves through the works of artists and in this process they blossom more and more in the heart of an artist as artist constantly thinks of God and his qualities throughout composition of his work or his art. Due to above stated reasons, we have a rich and diverse culture not found anywhere in the world. We have freedom to express our views in multiple ways.

    Though there is cultural diversity, we are united by our common source of knowledge – our shāstra-s.

    Diversity is our strength. It allows us to express ourselves in different ways. Mind itched with divine qualities via stories of great characters in our shāstra-s, expresses the beauty of these qualities in the form of various works of social nature like dramas, plays, songs and stories, thereby making spirituality and culture interwoven and inseparable.

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