We are still in the first chapter and in this chapter Sri Aurobindo presents to us the approach that we should have while studying the Bhagavad Gita today in our present times. And as we saw last time, Sri Aurobindo starts by saying that today we have just emerged from a stage where people used to kill each other in the name of religion, and that although we are now not killing each other in the name of religion, we still have the psychology in which we feel that our religion is somehow superior to other religions. Although other religions may be also good, they may also have value but our religion is something very special and it is superior to the others. And on account of this, there is still a conflict.
It is in this climate that we are poised today and therefore, when we take up the Bhagavad Gita, a similar attitude may be manifest among many people in which we try to see that Bhagavad Gita, among all the Scriptures, is the best. Even though others may be quite good but Bhagavad Gita is the best, this can be an attitude. Secondly that, while understanding the Gita, you should take every word as if it is unalterable, that being the divine revelation, there can be nothing which can be altered that we have to understand it in the same way in which it was understood at the time when it was composed or revealed and we should therefore recover that sense, that meaning, and not even an iota of punctuation even can be changed in regard to that particular text. Now this can be an attitude and many people have this attitude while trying to understand the Bhagavad Gita or even the Vedas, or Upanishads, or all the Scriptures.
It is in that context Sri Aurobindo explains to us the psychology of revelation, and points out that that what is revealed is of course true, but the expression of revelation is dependent upon the language in which that revelation is expressed. And the inadequacies of that language very often cannot be cured because the language sometimes does not have even the words for the content of that revelation. Secondly, a revelation is expressed not only through certain language, but also through a certain atmosphere which is prevalent at a given time. And in that time, there may be certain specific ideas which are current at that time; and therefore, the atmosphere influences the expressions. therefore, while we have to express the real content of the revelation, we should not bind ourselves to the language, or to the atmosphere of the ideas which were current at that time.
That is why Sri Aurobindo says that we have to make a distinction between that which is of ‘permanent' value and that, which is of a ‘transitory' value, something that is 'local', something that is ‘pertaining to that epoch'. Sri Aurobindo takes an example to explain this distinction – at least two concepts, which are a striking example. One is, Sri Aurobindo says, that Gita uses the word yajna, sacrifice. In both the 3rd and the 4th chapter of the Gita, we have exposition of the doctrine of yajna, and if you read it superficially, then you may feel that this word yajna was used in the sense in which it was used in the earlier times, where it had a ‘ritualistic' meaning. Sri Krishna tells Arjuna that, "Every action binds you, except the action that is done as a yajna", Isn’t it? Therefore, whenever you do any action, you do as yajna. This is the specific statement that Sri Krishna makes. Now from there, it may be inferred that you have to perform sacrifices every day ‘havan' and ‘yajna', ‘mantras' and so on, and no other action, or other activities will bind you, excepting the yajna that you do; and this could be one meaning that you can derive out of it.
Now, Sri Aurobindo points out that when you have problems of this kind, this is only an example – at present that the whole system of sacrifice has become almost obsolete. Even the modern yajnas, which are done are ‘Puranic' and not 'Vedic'. So, some of the Vedists might insist that Sri Krishna says that unless you do Vedic yajna, you get bound. This can be one interpretation, and therefore there can be a case, under the influence of the Bhagavad Gita, taking this sentence as our guideline, to preach the whole country that you should revert back to the kind of a system of sacrifices which were done in the Vedic times, and tell people that they don’t need to do anything else because all of other activities will bind you, and you just do yajnas and as in that system, there were five types of yajnas, atithi yajna and all these kinds of yajnas.
Now this can be one of the ways by which the word yajna can be interpreted and can be given and that can be told that according to the Bhagavad Gita, Karma Yoga consists only of this and nothing else, because the sentence is very clear: "All action binds you except the work which is done as sacrifice."
Now, how are we to interpret words like this?
Therefore, Sri Aurobindo says that we have to go into the ‘spiritual truth' of words of this kind. We should not bind ourselves to the words as they meant at a given epoch – it is the temporary meaning of yajya. But is it the real meaning of yajna? And, if you go to the Veda itself, is it a fact that even there, the word yajna was used only in ‘this' sense? Even that is an open question. Besides, Sri Aurobindo points out that even in the Bhagavad Gita itself, when you come to the 4th chapter, there is a very remarkable sentence which gives an altogether different interpretation of yajna made by Sri Krishna himself, in which the Vedic idea of that kind of sacrifice is itself altered by Sri Krishna himself in the Bhagavad Gita when he says, "There are many kinds of sacrifices". And among the sacrifices, ’those sacrifices which are done by dravya….
श्रेयान्द्रव्यमयाद्यज्ञाज्ज्ञानयज्ञः परन्तप ।
सर्वं कर्माखिलं पार्थ ज्ञाने परिसमाप्यते ॥ 4.33
Bhagavad Gita, 4.33
'Better than the sacrifice done with oblations to the fire, the greater is the sacrifice of wisdom', jnanayajyam .
This whole concept of jnanayajna is a new concept in the Bhagavad Gita. And He says ‘That only that Karma which is done by jnana, when you offer your wisdom'...and how do you offer your wisdom? You can offer samagrees of various kinds, the fuel and the ghee, and many other things, but how do you offer jnana? How do you sacrifice jnana itself? So first of all, you should have jnana, then you should apply it, while doing karma. That means that karma here does not mean merely an act of offering on the fire. Whatever action you are doing, while doing that action, have the true knowledge. And not only that, but when you do that yajna, with that knowledge, and you sacrifice it, then the highest knowledge manifests itself:
श्रेयान्द्रव्यमयाद्यज्ञाज्ज्ञानयज्ञः परन्तप ।
सर्वं कर्माखिलं पार्थ ज्ञाने परिसमाप्यते ॥ 4.33
'All’ actions when they are really done (all actions mean: all actions done as sacrifice) ultimately end in the acquisition of knowledge.'
So, Sri Krishna himself changes the very definition of yajna, although some of the statements, which are made in the third chapter, may give you an indication as though Sri Krishna refers to the Vedic type of idea, which had become orthodox idea; but, when you come to the 4th chapter, where he really defines further the idea of yajna, the whole situation changes. So, when Sri Krishna himself takes the liberty of changing the idea of yajna which was prevalent at that time, in his own teaching, it indicates to us that fundamentally whenever you want to interpret words of this kind, which had a temporary and temporal significance, we should go back to the fundamental truths and define words in the terms which are now valid at the present stage.
And then, from that point of view. In fact, Sri Aurobindo has written two, three chapters in the ’Essays on the Gita' on this very question of sacrifice: "Works of Sacrifice", "Lord of Sacrifice", these are 2, 3 chapters that Sri Aurobindo has written in The Essays on Gita and there, He has explained in detail as to what exactly was the meaning of yajna even in the Vedic texts, although at one time the word yajna did mean sacrifice in the form of ‘oblations to fire’, externally. Even in the Veda, the word ‘sacrifice’ did not mean that: there was an esoteric side, a secret side, an occult side of sacrifice. And that it only meant: ‘offering of oneself’. It is not oblation in the fire, but oblation of oneself to the Supreme Divine. And this is the sense in which ultimately, we find explained by Sri Krishna Himself in the Bhagavad Gita. And then in his own ’Synthesis of Yoga' Sri Aurobindo explains the principle of sacrifice in this real sense of the term, which is of eternal spiritual value. Because fundamentally, sacrifice really means: offering of oneself to the Divine, totally. This is one example as to how, when you interpret the present Scripture, words of this kind you may come across, and if you want to interpret, and when there is a doubt about it, Sri Aurobindo says that you go back to the fundamental spiritual Truth, which can be verified in experience and which is today translatable in the terms of today – that is how you should interpret.
Another example Sri Aurobindo has given is that of the concept of this is the concept of, the ……….'four castes' of which Sri Krishna speaks sometimes in the Bhagavad Gita. ‘The four castes, or four varnas, were created by Me’. And again, towards the end of the Bhagavad Gita, He speaks of the ’works of Brahmin, works of Kshatriya, works of Shudra, works of Vaishya’. So here again, the question might arise while interpreting the Bhagavad Gita, is it true that the caste system is prescribed by the Gita? If caste system ’was created by Me', as Sri Krishna says, then does it mean that the Bhagavad Gita preaches that you should now resurrect the caste system, even though broken now to a great extent? If Sri Krishna Himself has created four castes, how can you now break them? So even if they are broken, why should you not revive them? This is one of the very important questions, which can be raised in regard to this teaching of the Gita and one who takes the Bhagavad Gita literally: chātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛiṣhṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśhaḥ
चातुर्वर्ण्यं मया सृष्टं गुणकर्मविभागशः ।
तस्य कर्तारमपि मां विद्ध्यकर्तारमव्ययम् ॥ 4.13
So, reading this statement that Sri Krishna Himself had made these four castes, and then towards the end He describes the various functions of the different castes: does it not mean that Bhagavad Gita teaches us that we should not break the caste system? On the contrary, even the present broken system should be resurrected?
Now, here also Sri Aurobindo says that this is a concept, which we need to understand in the ‘spiritual meaning’ of the word. And that meaning actually Sri Krishna explains it in that very word itself: He has created four varnas, चातुर्वर्ण्यं मया सृष्टं गुणकर्मविभागशः, chātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛiṣhṭaṁ but guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśhaḥ, according to the Guna and Karma. It is not as it is now, by birth an individual is born in a family therefore he belongs to that particular caste – an individual is to be, just to belong to one or the other, depending upon his Guna and Karma. What is his quality and what is his natural mode of action?...... It is on that basis that you have to decide the 'four castes'. So, while there is a truth of… four castes ...and it can even be said that since Bhagavad Gita has spoken of these four castes, there is no harm in resurrecting, provided you go back to the original concept which is given there: गुणकर्मविभागशः, guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśhaḥ. Not only that but you go still deeper, as Sri Krishna Himself goes deeper and deeper into the concept of svadharma and svabhava, because that also is a part of Bhagavad Gita's teaching so you should take into account, what is the nature of svadharma and svabhava?
So that would mean that actually speaking, individuals are not only divided into four castes, but each individual is a category by himself because of his Svabhava and Svadharma.
This is how when Vivekananda explained the multiplicity of religions, he said that actually in an ideal state, every individual should have his own religion: not that you belong to this religion or that religion, dividing mankind into the five or six groups of religions, which are today alive in a major manner, but each individual should have his own religion because his Svabhava and Svadharma is insisted upon as in the Gita as the most important element. That even the idea of dharma belonging to a particular varna takes a different meaning: in spite of that particular Dharma that you might have because you belong to a particular group, you have still a deeper Dharma, which applies to you as an individual. So that also has to be seen.
Sri Krishna Himself, who was a Kshatriya, Arjuna was a Kshatriya, therefore in a certain sense you might say that both were Kshatriyas by गुणकर्मविभागशः guṇa-karma, and therefore they had a certain duty following from this particular belongingness to a particular group, yet while Sri Krishna teaches Arjuna to fight with weapons, as far as He Himself is concerned, He doesn’t prescribe that rule to Himself, He had declared that He will not use any weapon at all in the battle.
So, if that is the truth, that means that He knew what is Svabhava and Svadharma for Himself, which was specific, which was different from what was true for Arjuna. So, it is in that plastic sense that we should take the words, which are used in the Gita.
Another word that Sri Aurobindo takes up is the word Shastra. It is said in the Bhagavad Gita that you should always follow the Shastra. What is the meaning of Shastra? If you read the Bhagavad Gita very closely, you'll find that along with the word Shastra there is also a great insistence upon sraddha. And while distinguishing between the two, Sri Krishna also says that you should act according to Shraddha.
And in the last chapter, Sri Krishna even discusses three kinds of Shraddha: the Tamasic Shraddha, the Rajasic Shraddha and Sattwic Shraddha. And if you have to follow Shraddha, and it is a conflict between Shastra and Shraddha then, what happens?
In fact, this is one of the last questions of Arjuna and says that if somebody deviates from Shastra, but deviates with Shraddha, then what would be the consequence? In fact, this is one of the very important questions which is asked by Arjuna, and from where Sri Krishna answers a question at a very deep level, and it is from there that He develops the idea and says that Shraddha is so important that if you really do with Sattvic Shraddha, then you arrive ultimately to a point where you transcend all Dharmas.
So, you have a Dharma of your group, Dharma of your own self, but the culmination comes, when you transcend everything, all Shastras, sarvadharman parityajya mam ekam saranam. So, you transcend all dharmas, so you transcend Shastra, you transcend svadharma, everything, and you just belong to the Divine:
सर्वधर्मान्परित्यज्य मामेकं शरणं व्रज ।
अहं त्वा सर्वपापेभ्यो मोक्ष्ययिष्यामि मा शुचः ॥ 18.66
Bhagavad Gita, 18.66
And then the Divine pours Himself into you, and manifests all that He has to manifest through you and there is no limit to it. All Dharmas, all Shastras are limitations but all are transcended when the Divine Himself begins to act through you.
Now, this Bhagavad Gita itself while discussing these words, transforms the meanings of the accepted terms, which were used at that time. So now, when you translate the word "Shastra" you should be careful, even when it is said by Sri Krishna, you should follow Shastra, you should read this word in the context not only of that particular point where it is expressed but on the totality of the whole Bhagavad Gita what ultimately it means. This shows that while you read the Bhagavad Gita, one has to be very careful……. while interpreting certain specific words which if they are not applied rightly and truly in the deepest spiritual sense, they may bind you to certain wrong ties instead of liberating you. And then, you may be led to prescribe something which is not valid for our times. And therefore, you might say, even a critic……. might say: "Oh! Sri Krishna spoke of four castes and the present moment of life in the world is opposed to all classes and all castes, throw them away! Therefore, Bhagavad Gita has no relevance today at all"; and this can be a prescription also of the critics that Bhagavad Gita today has no relevance.
The ultimate upshot of all this is, that Sri Aurobindo says: For what reason do we turn to the Bhagavad Gita? Why do we want to study the Bhagavad Gita at all? Bhagavad Gita can be studied in many ways, with many kinds of attitudes: one attitude is to study it as a part of history, and you discuss many questions like: did Bhagavad Gita really form a part of Mahabharata? Or was it an interpolation later on? This is one of the important questions ……. many scholars are dealing with Bhagavad Gita in that sense. Is it a fact that Sri Krishna recited the Bhagavad Gita on the battlefield? Was there sufficient time at that time to expound such a long, long, long debate and discourse on the battlefield when all of them are ready to shoot each other? Questions of this kind also can be debated while dealing with the Bhagavad Gita and you can write two volumes on that subject. There are so many commentaries, so many ideas, so many proofs, ‘disproofs'; and you can go on into that labyrinth and you can waste your time over it. If that is your interest! Fine. It is all right if you want to decide this question. Fine! But Sri Aurobindo says, if you and I are about to turn to the Bhagavad Gita, let us not turn to the Gita to discuss these questions. There is something much more important in the Gita.
The Bhagavad Gita can be also studied from a scholastic point of view. When a scholar when he studies the Bhagavad Gita he takes every word very seriously, in a very rigid manner and then says: 'etymology of this word is this, gradually it came to mean this, in due course when the Bhagavad Gita was composed it came to mean this, and therefore that is the real meaning of the Bhagavad Gita'. In regard to which we just now took the example of the words: Yajna, Shastra, Shraddha, and many other words. So that could be a scholastic discussion of Bhagavad Gita.
Then there is also another way by which people are studying the Bhagavad Gita: you may be a Monist, you may be an Advaitin, you may be a Dvaiti who believes in dualism, you may be a Vishishtadvaiti, believing in Vishishtadvaita (qualified monism), you may be a Vaishnava, where you want to prove that Sri Krishna is all in all the world and He is the Ultimate Reality. There are many ways by which you want to read the Bhagavad Gita and want to prescribe to people: "Look, my theory of Monism is exactly the theory given by the Gita and therefore you should follow the Gita, since Gita is a great scripture you should follow it, and since Gita prescribes Monism, therefore you should become Monist". This could be one way of interest in which you study the Bhagavad Gita. Or you might say, "Look, I am Advaitin, and when you read the Bhagavad Gita, there is a full support to dvaitavada. Bhagavad Gita is opposed to Monism, it is opposed to Vishishtadvaita, it is purely a theory of dvaita. And when one may study the whole of the Gita from this point of view, and there are many dialecticians today, who want to prove or disprove that this word which is used ‘there' was only subordinate, ‘that' word which was used there was the most important word, and therefore you should give more importance to ‘that' word and not to 'this' word, and in the Bhagavad Gita if one goes on searching you can find so many statements.
And Bhagavad Gita, basically is so synthetic, and there are so many rivers flowing into it and confluence of all these rivers, that it is quite easy to pick up one line, or one river and say, "This is the river of the Bhagavad Gita, and all other rivers are only tributaries of that particular river." It can be argued, and you can go on wasting your time in discussing all these kinds of theories, that can be one attitude. If that is your interest, fine, you can study the Bhagavad Gita from that point of view also.
Sri Aurobindo asks this question: Is it really the reason why we should, you and I, turn to the Gita?..... We, who belong to our present times, we who are passing through a very difficult time, there are certain pressing problems of our times, and we are looking for a solution to those pressing problems. So our fundamental question should be: ‘for pressing problems of today, for answering those questions most effectively, most fully, is there anything in the Gita?’ That is our real demand from the Gita. Our present problems which are pressing upon us, and we want to solve these problems and we want to fulfill ourselves today, in the present time so that we feel that all that was to be done by us at present, we have done, our very best and for doing that, all the knowledge we wanted, we have tried to find that knowledge.
If that is your attitude, Sri Aurobindo says, that is why he has written this book. It is not a book written for scholastic reasons,…. for establishing one theory against the other like a dialectician, the purpose is not historical; this is a kind of a spirit with which we may approach the Gita and whoever likes to approach it, can approach it. But Sri Aurobindo says that it is not our approach. That is to say all of us, who are keen to do our very best in the present circumstances of the world, and who are keen to find out knowledge from wherever it may be, it is in that spirit that we approach the Bhagavad Gita and ask this question: We have problems, do you have an answer to this question? So, Sri Aurobindo says, we are knocking the doors of the Bhagavad Gita in this spirit. Therefore in this book you will not find the kind of battle that you find in many books written on the Gita, whether Sri Krishna existed or not; whether Arjuna had really the time to listen to the discourse on the battlefield or not; whether Sri Krishna is a Vaishnava, the first god of the world, or second god of the world; or Trimurti and relationship with Sri Krishna ‒ all these questions will not find any place in this book because these questions are not relevant to our basic seeking. We are pressed by the problems of today, we want to do our very best, we want to solve the problems, we want the light.
It is in this context that Sri Aurobindo says that we have to realise….. that when you read the Gita, the most important element in the Gita is something that is relevant to our own times, and that is the spirit of synthesis. Our modern times have reached a point, where the spirit of synthesis has become most prominent. If you examine the psychology of modern times, where various points of views have been explored during the last five centuries in the history of the world, and we are emerging from five centuries of experience, where we find that every point of view has some truth behind it. This is the one conclusion that the modern mind is now arriving at. Even the exclusive religions today are opening up saying: that there might be some truth in some other religions, although my religion tells me the 'highest'. But still, even then, we are ready to say that Islam may have something to say which is useful, Christianity may have something which is useful. So today, we are not in that situation where we say that ‘My point of view is the only point of view and other points of views have no truth at all.' We are not actually at present at that stage of development; we have gone beyond that stage.
That is why in the very first paragraph, Sri Aurobindo describes our mood, our present condition, while the world abounds in religions and scriptures with revelations and half-revelations; and there was a time where people were killing each other in the name of religion because of 'exclusivism', and today we have become wiser so that we are at least tolerant enough to say that some other religions, or some other points of view may have the truth behind it. But above all this, the most important tendency of our times is to see that even ’our own' point of view may not be the ‘supreme' point of view; even that ’modern man' is even prepared to accept it that, 'although I might have been taught a certain point of view, I might see great values in it, today I think it is the supreme point of view'. But if you are really modern in the true sense of the term, you will realise that you are prepared to accept that even ‘my' point of view may not be the 'supreme' point of view. So, it is in that sense that today we are moving, with that psychology.
This is the period in which a great synthesis is a dominant tendency and it is in that spirit that Bhagavad Gita comes to us with a tremendous freshness, because among many books of the world, if there is one characteristic which is so supreme in the Bhagavad Gita, is its own tendency towards 'synthesis'. Bhagavad Gita is a book of synthesis. And that is a great relevance of the Gita. Today it is something that corresponds to our psychology, our own mind wants to see the synthesis by finding out the truth behind various points of view, and arrive at a large and comprehensive truth in which all the propositions find their full satisfaction. Their corrections, if there are any, and yet their full satisfaction.
In fact, in one of the talks, Mother said, "What is the meaning of a synthesis?" And She said, "A true synthesis is one in which the truth of each contradictory statement is discovered, and then brought together in such a way that each standpoint finds its full satisfaction." Although at a given time it was contradictory of the other, but when you have discovered the truth of that point of view and the truth of another point of view, and when it is presented to ‘all' of them, then ‘each one' finds that in which my proposition is fully satisfied. When you arrive at that point, then you feel that this is a real synthesis in which nothing is denied. It is actually a denial of denials, a true synthesis denies all denials in which there is a complete affirmation.
Now, Bhagavad Gita has this tremendous value for the modern man because of the fact that it is a book of great synthesis and it is this synthesis which is so relevant and therefore when we turn to the Gita and see how Shri Krishna is able to synthesise. What is the method by which Sri Krishna's synthesizes so many points of views? As Sri Aurobindo says that Bhagavad Gita is not Monism although it states Monism; Bhagavad Gita is not Vishishtadvaita although it accepts the truth of Vishishtadvaita; it is not Dualism, although it accepts the truth of Dualism; it is not Karma Yoga although it accepts Karma Yoga; it is not merely Jnana Yoga although it accepts Jnana Yoga; it is not merely Bhakti Yoga but it accepts Bhakti Yoga. Every statement that you can make regarding the positions, regarding the Truth, and regarding the methods by which the Truth can be achieved, all this is stated here in such a manner that all of them find a confluence and the ultimate answer that we get is a complete synthesis and the satisfaction of all the parts of our being. This is what happens if you read the Gita in this light and in this search.
So try to read the Gita not to establish this position or that position, but try to see how the Bhagavad Gita arrives at a 'grand' synthesis. And this is that grand synthesis which is very relevant to us today, because if you learn the Bhagavad Gita, you will know how to synthesize.
As pointed out by Sri Aurobindo, ‘today mankind is standing at the head of a great synthesis’. Today the truth of all the religions is being examined with fresh eyes; there are many movements of ‘interfaith understanding’, ‘parliament of religions’, where all kinds of religions are being studied in a fresh manner. Most of the religions are theistic because they believe in God but the modern feeling is that we should not confine ourselves only to ‘theistic' religions. Religions like Buddhism, which is not theistic – it is even atheistic, – even these religions are now coming upon us with a recovered sense and presents itself as one of those religions which have to be understood properly, even by ‘theistic' religion, this atheistic religion is coming upon mankind with such a great force that we all are forced to understand even the atheistic religion.
Even modern knowledge of science, it has become such a dominant thing that religions can no more remain blind to the modern developments of science. Many scientific discoveries have challenged some of the beliefs of religions, and there has been a lot of conflict between science and religion. And ultimately the modern mood is to see whether religion and science can be combined together, can arrive at a synthesis. There is a modern tendency today to realise that even beyond religion there is something like spirituality, in which all religions can be united and on the base of which even science can be united, and therefore that could yield a new kind of science, in which the truth of spirituality and the truth of science can be all amalgamated and synthesized. That is why Sri Aurobindo says we must remember that: "We do not belong to the dawns of the past but to the noons of the future". We are not going to repeat what was done in the past, so be respectful to the past and derive from the past, but don’t bind yourself with the past. Open yourself in which all the knowledge of the past syntheses, present conflicts, the present knowledge, which is being recovered, all of them come together and they get synthesized.
It is in the search of this synthesis that Sri Aurobindo says that Bhagavad Gita is bound to play a most important role and because of that reason, it is necessary that we turn to the Gita and study what is the Gita. This is a real justification why we should read the Gita today, why we should get our children to read the Gita, because if they do not read the Gita, ……this capacity of synthesis which must be built in our children will not come. It is a very important element. If you do not know that synthesis, even the new synthesis, which is demanded for the new days, will not be able to be arrived at.
So if you really want to understand the secret of synthesis, all the past syntheses have to be studied and the new synthesis has to be built up. This is the demand of our times. Therefore we demand from the Gita, whether Gita has any light to offer to us in this context.
In fact, Sri Aurobindo says that there have been in the history of India itself, right from the time of the Vedas to the present day, several systems of synthesis – not one. Therefore not only that we should read only the Gita and nothing else, we need to read even much more! Gita of course has to be studied but we should not therefore go with the idea that that is the only thing to be studied, even that would be a mistake, because in the history of India itself there have been many syntheses in the past and we have to understand all the synthesis, if we really want to succeed in arriving at a synthesis for the future.
The first synthesis was the Veda itself. In fact, where Sri Aurobindo describes the synthesis of the past, Sri Aurobindo, has summarized the synthesis so briefly that when you read this paragraph, you realise that it is one of the most difficult paragraphs.
In fact I shall read to you this paragraph so that it may become easier for you to follow. It is claimed that the Gita is the summary of all that has been said in the Vedas, Upanishads, and therefore you don’t need to go to all of them, you just read the Gita and once you have learnt the Gita, you know all the knowledge that is given in the Vedas and the Upanishads. Now fundamentally, this proposition is true, a summary, essential, is always of this nature. But human life is not only based on summary and not only based upon essence; they are very important, but life is multifarious manifestation. Therefore for dealing with life, you cannot be confined only to essence or to the summary.
In fact, there are some people who say that Sri Krishna said, "All that is to be known by the Vedas is known if I am known." And this proposition is very true, and then they argue further that if you turn to Sri Krishna, you don't need to read anything else at all – which is also true. The question is how do you turn to Sri Krishna? How do you know Him? Of course if you know Him, you will know everything. That is true! But everybody has his own concept of Sri Krishna and say if you know this Krishna, everything is known – which may not be true because your own concept of Sri Krishna may be limited.
So, what is the synthesis that we need to know which was created in the time of the Veda, that which was created in the time of the Upanishads, in the Gita and Tantra? And what is the need of today? I'll read to you first this paragraph (Essays on the Gita, Ch. I, p.7), and then come back again to elucidate a few points. On page number 7, the very first line on page number 7.
There have been other syntheses in the long history of Indian thought. We start with the Vedic synthesis of the psychological being of man in its highest flights and widest rangings of divine knowledge, power, joy, life and glory with the cosmic existence of the gods, pursued behind the symbols of the material universe into those superior planes which are hidden from the physical sense and the material mentality. The crown of this synthesis was in the experience of the Vedic Rishis something divine, transcendent and blissful in whose unity the increasing soul of man and the eternal divine fullness of the cosmic godheads meet perfectly and fulfil themselves. The Upanishads take up this crowning experience of the earlier seers and make it their starting-point for a high and profound synthesis of spiritual knowledge; they draw together into a great harmony all that had been seen and experienced by the inspired and liberated knowers of the Eternal throughout a great and fruitful period of spiritual seeking. The Gita starts from this Vedantic synthesis and upon the basis of its essential ideas builds another harmony of the three great means and powers, Love, Knowledge and Works, through which the soul of man can directly approach and cast itself into the Eternal. There is yet another, the Tantric, which though less subtle and spiritually profound, is even more bold and forceful than the synthesis of the Gita,—for it seizes even upon the obstacles to the spiritual life and compels them to become the means for a richer spiritual conquest and enables us to embrace the whole of Life in our divine scope as the Lila of the Divine; and in some directions it is more immediately rich and fruitful, for it brings forward into the foreground along with divine knowledge, divine works and an enriched devotion of divine Love, the secrets also of the Hatha and Raja Yogas, the use of the body and of mental askesis for the opening up of the divine life on all its planes, to which the Gita gives only a passing and perfunctory attention. Moreover it grasps at that idea of the divine perfectibility of man, possessed by the Vedic Rishis but thrown into the background by the intermediate ages, which is destined to fill so large a place in any future synthesis of human thought, experience and aspiration.
Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita: Our Demand and Need from the Gita
This is a very difficult paragraph because in a few words and a lines, the quintessence of the Veda, Upanishads, Gita and Tantra is described.
Let us try to understand first of all, the synthesis that was achieved in the time of the Veda. What is the Vedic synthesis? Why is it a synthesis at all? Because there have been many teachings which are not synthesis. In later philosophies when you come, there is Nyaya which is not a synthesis; Vaishishika is not a synthesis; Sankhya is not a synthesis; Pantajali's Yoga is not a synthesis; Uttara Mimansa is not a synthesis; Purva Mimansa is not a synthesis. Because even when Uttara Mimansa has been presented as synthesis, it immediately broke into Shankara's Vedanta, Ramanuja's Vedanta, Madhwa's Vedanta. So they all cease to be synthetic because each one excludes the other. But such is not the truth of the Veda. Veda is a synthesis. You find in the Veda confluence of various rivers, nana dharmah, this is one of the words that has been used in the Veda, various kinds of Dharmas are combining and there is an appreciation of all of them and say that it is because of that reason that humanity is one home, one family, where all of them are brought together. That is why the last statement of the Rig Veda is:
सं गच्छध्वं सं वदध्वं सं वो मनांसि जानताम् |
देवा भागं यथा पूर्वे संजानाना उपासते ||
saṃ gacchadhvaṃ saṃ vadadhvaṃ saṃ vo manāṃsi jānatām |
devā bhāgaṃ yathā pūrve saṃjānānā upāsate ||
The Veda 10.191.2
Walk together, speak together, have your own opinions, your own views all combined together in a synthetic manner.
This was the message at the end,….. now it is very well known that Rig Veda is often called karmakanda: in fact all the Vedas are regarded as Karmakanda. Therefore there is no doubt about the fact that the Veda contains a great gospel of Works, of that there is no doubt at all. Secondly, Veda is called ’Veda', Veda means the book of Knowledge. The very word "Veda" means knowledge. Therefore there can be no doubt about the fact that the Veda itself is a book of knowledge. The Veda is also supposed to be a book of upasana. The very first word of the Rig Veda is:
अग्निम् ईळे पुरोहितं यज्ञस्य देवम् ऋत्विजम् |
होतारं रत्नधातमम् ||
agnim īḷe purohitaṃ yajñasya devam ṛtvijam |
hotāraṃ ratnadhātamam ||
The Veda 1.1.1
The word ile the very first line speaks of agni mile: "I worship". And if you read the whole of the Veda it is nothing but prayers, it is nothing but a book of worship. Now all the three are combined together in a very synthetic manner, so that you may say that Vedas are at once the book of Works, of Knowledge and of Love and much more. The Veda speaks of Perfection; the Veda speaks of amritatvam, of Immortality. So, even the elements of Perfection, the elements of Immortality, are also to be found in the Veda.
But this synthesis has one very peculiar turn. What is that? There is a synthesis of human faculties – if you read the Veda very carefully, you will find there is a great emphasis ……on the development of faculties, various capacities, various powers. The very Gayatri Mantra which is one of the quintessences of the upasana of the Veda indicates a discovery of one faculty in man, which is so important that if that faculty is perfected, and if that is concentrated upon the supreme Knowledge, if there is a synthesis between the intellect and that Reality, that Light, then a perfection can be achieved.
तत् सवितुर् वरेण्यम् भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि |
धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात् ||
tat savitur vareṇyam bhargo devasya dhīmahi |
dhiyo yo naḥ pracodayāt ||
The Veda 3.62.10
This is the Gayatri Mantra. It's a mantra of a synthesis which says, dhimahi, dhiyo yo nah prachodayat; there is a discovery that there is one faculty named the intellect, dhi. If dhi is used, and we begin to have dhimahi, that is we begin to meditate, we discover the intellect. Then we exercise the intellect; we take it to such a perfection that we are able to meditate – dhimahi. And then dhimahi on what? What is the object of concentration, object of meditation? The Light.
savitur vareṇyam bhargo devasya
The supreme Light represented by Savitri; the sun is only a symbol of the supreme Light.
So, if you can synthesise intellect and the supreme Light, then you will be properly directed in life. This is one synthesis that you find which is in a mantra, which is very famous all over the country. Now this very mantra, if you examine, you will find the characteristic way by which the Veda goes about synthesis. Just as here it speaks of dhi, elsewhere it speaks of smriti, speaks of mati, and speaks of various other faculties, of viveka – discrimination, power of discrimination. Then it speaks of higher faculties, – not only these ordinary faculties of which we are aware but of higher faculties. These higher faculties are also described in a symbolic manner. In fact, ‘symbolism' is a very characteristic feature of the Veda. Just as in this Gayatri Mantra, Savitri is the sun, which is a symbol. There is a supreme Light of which the sun is the symbol in the Veda. So, whenever the word 'sun' is used, it does not necessarily mean the physical sun. It is actually a symbol or a figure of the supreme Light. Similarly of certain faculties, which have been discovered by the Vedic Rishis, which are to some extent present in us even now, but not developed, neglected, ignored, misunderstood.
In one of my talks, I have spoken of five such faculties which the Veda describes: there is a faculty of Ila, mahati, sarasvati, daksha, and sarama. Now the description of these faculties by the Vedic Rishis is extremely important. I am emphasising this because if you read the Bhagavad Gita, although it is a summary of the Veda, you won't find these things in the Bhagavad Gita because a summary, essence is a quintessence. But if you really want to make a big synthesis then you cannot neglect this great knowledge, which is contained in the Veda, because the new synthesis that we have to build, we have to take into account all the richness of these discoveries, not only a quintessence – all the richness of these discoveries……
The Mahati is a faculty by which you become as wide as the universe: it is a faculty of wideness.
Ila is a faculty of revelation in which the moment you exercise it, the objects become automatically revealed, just as when we open our eyes, that which was dark before immediately presents to us varieties of objects. Similarly, there is a faculty, according to the Veda, which is in us, undeveloped, but it is present, and the moment you utilise it, the object of knowledge is revealed, automatically.
Sarasvati is the faculty of ’inspiration'. It is something that corresponds to the faculty of 'hearing', just as ‘revelation' or Ila corresponds to 'eyes', similarly inspiration or Saraswati corresponds to our faculty of hearing, so that you can say that ‘I have heard the truth’. And the speciality of these faculties is that they all relate to Truth, whereas our mind grasps both truth and error together, and most of the statements which we make are laboriously made statements of truth from which we have tried our best to remove errors as much as possible. This is all that our mind can do. But these faculties are such that when they are exercised they automatically give you the perception of the Truth. So Saraswati is a 'Truth hearing' that is why Veda spoke of drishti and shruti; drishti is the vision and shruti is that which you hear. These faculties are very special faculties, which have been described in the Veda again and again.
Sarama is the faculty of 'intuition': it is a spotlight. Wherever it falls in that field like a torch, it does not give the full floodlight, it’s a torchlight. And very often what floodlight cannot do, the torchlight can do. So that is also a faculty which you need to know. So you open the torchlight and you know what is immediately present and very vividly. That is the function of Sarama.
And Daksha is a faculty of ‘discrimination': to see the whole is one way of looking at things. But to see the parts of the whole and to take into account each part separately, and also in a synthesis, is also a faculty.
These five faculties are particularly described in the Veda again and again. And then there is a statement of the synthesis of these five faculties.
So synthesis of our lower faculties like Dhi, Smriti and others of which I spoke, these other faculties and synthesis of these faculties is a further synthesis in the Veda. The relationship of man with the gods, the whole doctrine of the Veda, is specially focused on the relationship of man with the Supreme through gods, it’s a specialty of the Veda. The ultimate goal is of course the realisation of the Supreme Divine which has been discovered by the Vedic Rishis. But the Vedic Rishis have discovered that the Supreme Divine manifests manifold:
इन्द्रम् मित्रं वरुणम् अग्निम् आहुर् अथो दिव्यः स सुपर्णो गरुत्मान् |
एकं सद् विप्रा बहुधा वदन्त्य् अग्निं यमम् मातरिश्वानम् आहुः ||
indram mitraṃ varuṇam agnim āhur atho divyaḥ sa suparṇo garutmān |
ekaṃ sad viprā bahudhā vadanty agniṃ yamam mātariśvānam āhuḥ ||
The Veda 1.164.46
– ekam sad vipra bahudha vadanti, This is one of the most famous sentences in the Veda: "The Reality is one but the seers speak of Him in manifold manner". He is described as Matarishwan, described as Varuna, described as Mitra, and so on.
So the Vedic synthesis gives you another dimension:….. synthesis of man with gods and gods synthesised with the Supreme Divine. The secret of this synthesis is to be found in the Veda. Then, when this synthesis takes place, then various aspects of the Divine, become more and more manifest and synthesised. The Divine can be conceived as supreme Peace, and many people think that the Divine is what? – Silence, complete Brahman, in which there is no ripple of any kind of movement, One without the second; there are no sinews of energy, totally inactive, absolutely immobile, Akshara. This is one description of the Divine. Or you may say the Divine is an ocean of Love, a wide movement of pulsation in which there is a joy and beauty and manifestations of all kinds, an ocean of anantaguna. This is also a description of the Divine. There is also the description of the Divine, as in chapter eleven of the Bhagavad Gita, the 'Time vision’ of the Divine.
The Divine as Time, the dreadful figure: the devourer, (XI, 31) so that Arjuna is frightened to see that vision of the Divine and says: "Now please take it away, and let me have your most beautiful…… and your smiling face". So that could also be a vision of the Divine, so Love, Power, Joy, various kinds of aspects of the Divine. The Veda has a speciality: it synthesises all these, the knowledge, the love, the power, the joy, the peace – all the Divine qualities, all combined together, and such is the Supreme Divine that is manifested. So, divine not only in essence but divine in all its aspects. Synthesis of all these in a special kind of language which is symbolic language,…. in which the gods are described in a language that is also appropriate to the ‘physical' and it is deliberately done because in the Vedic vision ‘matter' and ‘spirit' also are synthesised and there is a correspondence between the 'spiritual' and the 'physical'. As a result of it, one message that comes out is that man when he unites himself with all his faculties, with the gods, with the Supreme and Supreme in all his aspects, that synthesis also ensures a synthesis of ‘matter' and 'spirit' – his body, life, mind, supermind and the spirit, altogether: the idea which would ultimately establish you on the possibility of perfectibility of man.
In one of the last verses of the Veda there is a message which says:
तन्तुं तन्वन् रजसो भानुम् अन्व् इहि ज्योतिष्मतः पथो रक्ष धिया कृतान् |
अनुल्बणं वयत जोगुवाम् अपो मनुर् भव जनया दैव्यं जनम् ||
tantuṃ tanvan rajaso bhānum anv ihi jyotiṣmataḥ patho rakṣa dhiyā kṛtān |
anulbaṇaṃ vayata joguvām apo **manur bhavah janaya devyam janam
The Veda 10.53.6
Manur bhava: become first man, manu is one who is mental, one who possesses the manas, ’mind' – manur bhavah, first, of course you are animal just now, but first at least although you possess mind, you do not develop it, so first you become manur bhavah and then, janaya means produce, manufacture, generate, janaya devyam janam, you become as perfect as God, devyam janam become the 'divine man'. This is the ideal perfectibility of man when he becomes godlike. And this is the state, which is described by the Veda as the state of immortality. When you reach this synthesis, this perfection, then you attain to immortality. This is the idea of Vedic immortality, because the word immortality has been used throughout our cultural tradition, but everywhere this word does not mean the same thing; amritam of the Veda is a 'much larger vision and idea', than amritam as understood later on. This is the large synthesis that you find in the Veda.
Now, I will read again these five lines of Sri Aurobindo’s description of the Vedic synthesis so that we shall see how all that I have now described is a kind of elucidation of these five, six lines. the second line:
We start with the Vedic synthesis of the psychological being of man in its highest flights and widest rangings of divine knowledge, power, joy, life and glory with the cosmic existence of the gods, pursued behind the symbols of the material universe into those superior planes which are hidden from the physical sense and the material mentality. The crown of this synthesis was in the experience of the Vedic Rishis something divine, transcendent and blissful in whose unity the increasing soul of man and the eternal divine fullness of the cosmic godheads meet perfectly and fulfil themselves.
Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita: Our Demand and Need from the Gita
So, in one sentence Sri Aurobindo has given a complete summary of the entire bulk of the Vedic Knowledge and Vedic practice and the whole Yoga of the Veda. So, this is the synthesis that we should not forget while reading the Bhagavad Gita we should bear in mind that in the History of India, Gita was preceded by a Knowledge which was so vast and if Gita is a quintessence of the Veda, if there is a difficulty in understanding the Gita, please go back to that so that you will get really enlightened from what is given there.
Now the second was the synthesis of the Upanishads.
Upanishads, you might say, represent a most unique feature of history of any civilisation. There is no period in the history of any other country or civilisation, which corresponds to the Upanishads. There is a period in the history of other civilisations which corresponds to the Vedic period: there is semblance of other civilisations which correspond to intellectual period; something similar to Mahabharata, Ramayana. The kind of mentality that we see in Mahabharata and Ramayana has a correspondence in the history of other civilisations. But the kind of consciousness and the kind of mentality which is represented in the Upanishads, there is no history of the world in which there is a correspondence to that period. This is one of a speciality of the Upanishads and we have therefore to understand it also from that point of view.
In fact, Indian civilisation is supposed to be a continuing civilisation in spite of so many tides and ebbs which have come in the Indian history. We speak of the continuity of India's history. If there is any reason for this continuity, it is because of Upanishads. It is Upanishads which came as a kind of a buffer, between the past and the subsequent. It stands out as it were one peak which keeps its contact with the past and to which therefore the future can be connected more easily.
A time came in the history of India when the Vedic knowledge waned, got lost, it became vedavada. The Vedic knowledge, which was a synthesis of karma, upasana and jnana came to be exclusively emphasised as karmakanda. Therefore, it came out that Veda is nothing but karmakanda; even that theory came to be propounded. It came to be advocated that Veda is nothing but a science of action, not only that, it was only a science of sacrifice, it is nothing but yajna, Veda is nothing but a theory of yajna and that too yagna of the 'ordinary' kind, not in the sense in which Sri Krishna ultimately manifests it in the Bhagavad Gita, but mere ritualistic yajnas.
Question: What is the status of the Vedas in terms of History then? Are they not meant to be...?
Answer: No, they are actually. If you read the Vedas, surely they are compositions, and the Rishis themselves speak of their compositions when they say: 'I have now composed this particular mantra and I have seen this and I have composed it.' So, it is a historical event. So, if you now ask the question: What is the period of the Veda? Which is a big controversy in the world history, because there are various theories like Dayananda Saraswati said: ’it was written one lakh years ago', that is one extreme but some people even go beyond.
The most conservative view presented by Max Muller and others, the modern scholars, is that it is1500 B.C. You can see the gulf! Tilak spoke of 4500 or 5000 years ago; some others put it 30,000 years ago. So you can see that in this kind of a controversy, we can get very easily lost. There are arguments, counter arguments, and so on, and if you want to make a historical study, we shall be led away into a field which is far from our main purpose. But my normal answer to this question is the following:
First, consider the known history of India about which there is no controversy. There is no great controversy about the fact that Buddha lived 600 B.C. This is one historical fact, which no historian normally doubts. So consider that 600 years, and Buddha is supposed to have derided the Vedas, and the whole Vedic tradition, the yajnavada and he is supposed to have created a situation, which ultimately came to be known as ’anti-Vedic'. So that means that by the time that the Buddha came, the Vedic system had gone down to a point where it had become largely the matter of 'sacrifices' against which Buddha spoke so much in opposition.
So, you have to give up the time frame for Vedic knowledge to come down gradually to a point, where it had become largely a matter of rituals. Then you go back and say that it is known that the Upanishads speak of the Veda from which they have derived their knowledge: therefore, Vedas must be before Upanishads. Then you give time for the composition of the Upanishads, – Upanishads which are regarded as the supreme literature of India. If there is any literature of the world, which can be regarded as supreme, at least in the context of India, it is the Upanishads. The very method of its composition of poetry, even its prose writings which are poetical, its brevity, its method of exposition, its perception of the Truth and the powerful method by which the Truth is conveyed. many people have tried afterwards in later times, but they are complete flops. This kind of Upanishadic writing, such a supreme literature cannot be imitated so easily! It is born out of a certain state of consciousness, which is developed over ages. So give time for the composition of Upanishads, and you can decide which are ancient Upanishads, which are medieval Upanishads, which are modern Upanishads that also can be listened. So give time for this that Upanishads were after the Aranyakas, and there are several Aranyakas, not one. So give time for the development of the Aranyakas. Then you give time because Aranyakas are supposed to be subsequent to Brahmanas, of which there is a number, so give time for the composition of Brahmanas. And Brahmanas are preceded by the Vedas.
There is also a story that first was Rig Veda, then came Yajur Veda, then came Sama Veda, and Atharva Veda was the last. So give time for all these and if you see the compositions, Rig Veda alone is ten thousand verses. What a tremendous amount! So first, you consider only the quantity; then you remember that the Vedas are only an anthology: Vedas are not complete books, they are called samhitas, they are only collections. It was Vyasa who, at a given time, is supposed to have known all the Vedas quite thoroughly well, and in order to summarize for the posterity, he collected the most important elements and put them together and classified and codified them in a particular manner, so this is an anthology. So give time for this anthology to develop into an anthology. So that there must have been a great study of so many Vedas so much that people could have made good selections out of them!
Now you come to the Vedic verses themselves. Now the Vedic verses have to be seen in three lights. The first light is that the Vedas contain knowledge of which we spoke very briefly just now. The knowledge of all the faculties of man. The knowledge of faculties which are subdued but not yet developed which can be developed. Knowledge of the gods. Knowledge of the secrets by which man can be related to the gods, knowledge by which gods can be transcended to supreme divine. Discovery that there is only one god not many gods but one god of whom the gods are so many manifestations; discover also the knowledge regarding perfectibility of man, of immortality how much experimentation must have gone to arrive at propositions of this kind and the remarkable thing is that Vedic verses speak of this knowledge with definiteness to arrive at our knowledge is one thing but to arrive at definite knowledge it requires how many years in our own life at a certain stage where we want to arrive at definiteness because 50, 60, 70 years to be very definitive about things that's how we go to our grandmothers when we are in question mark because their experience of seventy years would give us some definiteness now definiteness with regard to the knowledge of all these elements which are now described so that is first aspect is the content of the knowledge the second is that most of this Vedic knowledge is in a poetic form to develop prose and to develop poetry. To develop poetry is much more difficult task from a literary point of view and this poetry has got meters it's not ordinary verses just as our budding poets write poems some sentences here taken here taken there and becomes poetry but they are all very careful about meters and there are theories of meters and various kinds of meters now development of meters and compositions of poetry in so many meters count only that and then you count the level of this poetry which has come to be called mantric poetry and what is mantric poetry Sri Aurobindo says three qualities must be satisfied if poetry has to be mantric. There must be intensity highest intensity of truth vision there must be the highest intensity of rhythms and there must be highest intensity of style so that what is expressed corresponds to the substance of what is to be expressed the method of expression must correspond to the substance of the expression when you combine these three together you get a mantric poetry and to write one sentence you must centrifuge for intensive all the three now hundreds and thousands of mantras written in this metric in this mantric form imagine how much time must have been taken to arrive at that point. So I do not argue one way or the other I simply say count all this buddha was born around 600 BC now you count backwards and see how much time must have been taken to produce Vedic poetry this is the second aspect of Veda: first of all is the Truth vision, second is the meters and all that the third aspect is the quantity such a huge literature and this is what is available is only a kind of an anthology so imagine how much it must have been if today we start writing and with our goal to write like Vedic poetry imagine how many centuries will be taken to arrive at that kind of poetry. This is the kind of development that will be required if you want to reconstruct indian history if you read the Vedas as many western scholars have read as cries of primitive barbarians then it is easy to say well this is only a cry of people who are afraid of animals and afraid of earthquakes and of rains and storms and lightnings and then begin to cry about and they fear that something by crying results will come out but if you read the Veda you find at the very first mantra this theory can be exploited that which says very clearly – agnimille purohitam agni which is definiteness there is no fright in it there is no purohit am question of any kind of a barbaric or speaking out a cry even the first hymn is a negation of this whole concoction that they are barbaric people. Can barbarians produce this kind of poetry the supreme poetry the monthly poetry containing so much of truth vision so much of metrical system and perfection of matters is it possible?
Now therefore there must be a period preceding the Veda to arrive at the Vedic poetry there must have been a period of preceding the Veda as Sri Aurobindo says Veda was a climax and a point of decline it was a climax and a point of decline from which afterwards we have been going down down down and now having finished the cycle today we stand at a point where a great synthesis is now being demanded of us and therefore we are now required to go back to all this so that we can really make a great synthesis and perhaps achieve even greater rights than what the way the Christians had achieved so it is in that context that you can now reformulate the history of India. So one can only say without controversy this is not a subject of controversy now but if one wants to know I would simply say it is a very ancient literature and the history of India is hardly known at all and requires so much of research in fact may take two to three hundred years to make a real research into this and arrive at conclusions but it is worth doing it so question is important only we are not entering into it now only I gave some glimpses that these are the facts which are to be taken into account before you can reconstruct the real history of India and connect the Veda with the Gita and Gita with the present time.
I think we can stop here now because then we shall come next to the synthesis of the Upanishads.