Bhagavad Gita Reading Group/2

Bhagavad Gita
Chapter 2
Monday 11 March 2013
6:30 p.m.

Meditation
20 m.

Recitation
Chapter 2, verses 55-71.

Paired Discussion
15 m.
Consider the following:

What is the most relevant part of this chapter to you?

What critical questions do you bring to this chapter?

Can you connect any of the verses to personal experiences of late?

How focused on results are we in the United States?

Can you apply verses 47-50 to some real life challenges we face? Consider school, family, friends, workplace, activism…

Do you think any of the teachings in this chapter are counter-cultural? If so, which ones? Why?

Group Discussion
25 m.

Announcements

Some Verses

It does not become you to yield to this weakness. Arise with a brave heart, and destroy the enemy. 2.3

On this path effort never goes to waste, and there is no failure. Even a little effort toward spiritual awareness will yield protection from the greatest fear. 2.40

The man on this path, Arjuna, who resolves deep within himself to seek Me, attains singleness of purpose. For those who lack resolution the decisions are many-branched and endless. 2.41

Those whose minds are swept away by the pursuit of pleasure and power are incapable of following the supreme goal and will not attain samadhi. 2.44

You have the right to work, but never to the fruit of work. You should never engage in action for the sake of rewards, nor should you long for inaction. 2.47

Perform work in this world, Arjuna, as a man established within himself—without selfish attachments, and alike in success and defeat. For yoga is perfect evenness of mind. 2.48

Seek refuge in the attitude of detachment and you will amass the wealth of spiritual awareness. The man who is motivated only by desire for the fruits of his action, and anxious about the results, is miserable indeed. 2.49

When a man’s consciousness is unified, he leaves behind vain anxiety. He does not worry if actions proceed well or ill. Therefore, devote yourself to the discipline of yoga, for yoga is skill in action. 2.50

Some Excerpts from Eknath Easwaran’s The End of All Sorrows (on Chapter 2)

When I grieve for others, that is sorrow, which is ennobling and strengthening. But when I grieve for myself, it is not really sorrow; it is the debilitating emotion called self-pity. 49

What distinguishes us from the animal level is our capacity to forget our own petty, personal satisfactions in bringing about the happiness of all those around us. 50

However difficult circumstances may be, however formidable the challenges may be, we can be certain that because the Lord is within us we have the infinite resources of his love and wisdom to meet the challenge. 51

We have never consciously tried to go against our self-will, and therefore even the discipline of putting our family and friends first is going to take a long time to master. 53

It is impossible for any of us to take on the ego, which is really a formidable foe, without undergoing tremendous spiritual disciplines. 56

The ego’s size can be gauged by our anger, and the further we get into the depths of our consciousness, the more we shall see that anger surges in us when our self-will is violated. 57

“You say you want fulfillment but what you are going after every day is frustration.” 58

When the mind is getting agitated, when the waves of elation are starting to rise, do not give them a chance. 63

As long as we keep obsessively identifying ourselves with our body, we will keep falling into the jaws of death. 66

Whenever we get agitated or apprehensive in daily relationships, because of some remark, some act of omission or commission from those around us, the very best thing we can do is use the mantram. 75

Through the practice of meditation, we will acquire the delightful incapacity to associate people very much with their physical appearance. 78

Each of us, as our spiritual awareness deepens, can help a few members of our family and a few friends find their center of gravity within. 81

Every time we are tempted to eat something because of an advertisement or an old samskara, we should ask ourselves if the body needs it or if it will merely stimulate the palate. 83

Most of us don’t realize how much we depend upon other people’s approval for our security. 86

At the particular moment when there is a fierce sensory craving, even though we are being submerged under it, it is good to remember that the nature of the mind, the nature of desire, is to change. If we can hold out and resist the temptation, we are free. 108

Most of us have our infinite capacity for love dissipated into innumerable little channels, but we can all develop single-minded, concentrated devotion by putting the welfare of those around us first. 132

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