Essays on the Gita

Track Running Track 704

Question: You were giving us the differentiation between an intellectual and emotional being, you said that the emotional wants to share, what would you have to say for the intellectual person in that respect?

Answer: He also wants to share but rather sharing thoughts.

Remark: Not joys and so on?

Answer: Also. But it is a subordinate thing. Very often, a thinker is very happy when you tell him, now tell me your thoughts. He may not be able to give you a dinner party very easily, he may not even think of it, unless he has also a developed emotional personality. I am talking of those who are predominantly thinkers and those who are predominantly emotional. Those who are predominantly thinkers, you ask a question, immediately  he starts a kind of an analytical assessment of a situation or analytical statement of the process of thought.

It’s very peculiar, when she asked me the  question I went immediately into analysis; that shows my personality. I am more inclined to a reflective process of explaining. If there was somebody else, he  could have even given an experience to her of the answer to the question that she put to me, that could be a higher capacity than that I provide myself to myself. So I can share with others an analysis, which is more easy for me, I can immediately enter into analysis. It is the mark of a thinker rather than of a man of an emotion, although I am quite emotional also but I am predominantly a thinker so in my case it is not easy for me to share emotions so easily, it is so easy for me to share the analysis of thought.

Question: Does the emotional, Intellectual or ethical being have an evolutionary gradation or they just... ?

Answer: No, no, you are right, there are many gradations. That is why whenever you analyse, you find it very difficult because, as I was saying that  Arjuna was ethical but not rational. Now this will be a big injustice to Arjuna, because it is not that he was not rational, on the contrary, therefore I made a remark that actually every ethical, rational and aesthetic being has a sufficient modicum of rationality. But when I make a distinction, it is the question of a gradation that when one moves more and more in the ethical level then he is dwelling upon the philosophical level becomes less and less pronounced. Ultimately there should be harmony of all the three together.

In fact one of the greatest difficulties, of any culture, not only of a human being but even of a culture is that cultures tend to become specialized in one or the other. Take for example the culture of Athens and culture of Sparta, this is one of the earliest examples of a conflict between two cultures.  This is in Greek civilization, these two were very powerful cultures in ancient Greece – Athenian culture and Spartan culture. What is the difference between the two? Both were rational, but philosophical thought and pursuit of beauty were prominent in Athens, but the pursuit of the right, the good and the strong, of one who can endure, the pursuit of stoicism. You know in Sparta there was a rule that if a child when he was born and if it is a weakling, it was thrown off from a mountain. They did not want children who were weaklings, they wanted children who were brave and powerful . Now today when we think it may give us a terrible shake in our being; how cruel these people, were but they were so powerful as far as the capacity of endurance was concerned. They wanted to create a race of people who could bear all kinds of sufferings and all kinds of privations. This was unthinkable in Athens, where the aesthetics and intellectuality were very much emphasized. So you can see here two cultures where one was very predominant and the other was less predominant. And the other way, in Athens, this pursuit of stoicism was less prominent, not at all absent but less prominent.

Again see for example if you see the difference between the Greek culture and the Roman culture. What was the difference between the two? Now you take Greek as a whole, not Athens and Sparta separately but you can see Greek culture and Roman culture, what was the basic difference between the two? Romans were nearer to Sparta than to Athens, Roman culture was nearer to Spartian culture than to Athenian culture. In the sense that Romans were also great adherents of law – law order, organization, heavy hand to see that things are done; not the questioning mind as to what is right or wrong, it was assumed, you know what is right, what is wrong and  the question is: 'what is to be done'. This is the reason why they conquered Greece, because the Greeks were thinking! They were pursuers of beauty, sculpting, arts and making architectural designs which were so beautiful. And because they lacked this element, which Spartans had in a great measure, therefore Greeks were conquered and became even slaves. And this is the trouble which arises in culture: a good thinker can  be very well made a slave of a practical man, which happens very often. Scientists are hired by rich people and then rich people can command them and the poor thinkers have to spin out so many ideas in service of the rich and powerful people! This happens all the time. So in cultures also it can happen: the Greeks, even great philosophers, had to work as slaves of the Roman masters! It is said actually that Greeks were so clever because of their thinking power, they knew very well how to please their masters and therefore they would spin out stories which would please them and therefore gain favors from them. And ultimately they were so clever that all their culture they simply rolled upon Romans so that ultimately Romans became Greeks by their intellectual power: their power of persuasion, their power of maneuvering and intelligent understanding. So that is why once Romans had conquered the Greeks, there arose what is called Greco–Roman culture. So actually Roman culture did not remain Roman at all, it became highly influenced by Greek culture. So there arose a Greco–Roman culture in due course of time. And that was the great conquest of the Greeks. The Greeks conquered Romans not by warfare but it was the conquest of the mind.

Question: Can the perfection be defined as integration?

Answer: That's right, correct, absolutely!

Perfection is integration of ethicality, aesthetics and the rationality, all the three are integrated. The only problem is how to integrate them and the only problem is whether is there any power by which they can be integrated? And the experience shows that neither of them can be integrated only by the power of the reason, or the power of ethicality, or the power of aesthetics, that is why the need to go above these three elements. This is what is required by spirituality. Spirituality is not optional. If you really want to integrate there is no other way, you have got to overpass this elements, you have got to enter into a higher level. In fact the question that you ask is so important that actually the whole of the Gita can be understood only through that question. What was the need for Sri Krishna to give him a spiritual light when Arjuna simply said, 'Please tell me decisively what is to be done?" It is because the answer that Sri Krishna had to give was not acceptable only to the ethical element and what he wanted to say was something which ethicality would not have accepted easily. To say very briefly, you might say Sri Krishna's answer actually was,  "Look, my dear friend, you are looking for the Law. And what I want to tell you is a situation where you have to give up all the laws. This is my real answer, sarvadharman parityajya." This is the basic, ultimate in the chapter XVIII (66), and this is the last word of the Gita.

Now you are asking me:"what is the law by which I should act?" Now Sri Krishna does not tell this in the beginning because he would not have understood at all, that Look, I am asking you to give up all the laws. Now this is a difficult transition from one stage, where he was asking for a law of action and Sri Krishna’s real answer was: Give up all the laws. How to fit in these two conflicting things, therefore Sri Krishna had to build up such a long story, little by little he takes up and only at the end.  

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