October 17, 2006

The realism of Sri Aurobindo

Here the double literary device at the beginning of this chapter, of Samjaya reporting the actual dialogue in verse 1 and again in verse 9, as if the curtain drops and rises twice before the actual dialogue - the central samvada proper which is to hold the stage - which begins properly in verse 11, has its own significance. It is in the light of this dramatic structure that we must interpret the meaning of verses 2 and 3 particularly; otherwise the second line here which refers to factors such as svarga (heaven) and kirti (social reputation) and anaryajushtam (unworthy of an Aryan, implying racial prestige) - generally repugnant to the teaching of the Gita as a whole, as definitely discerned in later chapters - become inexplicable. The imperative need for action in this critical situation considered here in actual historical terms belongs to the canvas rather than the painting. To identify it with the proper teaching of the Gita as many have done (see our remarks on the realism of Sri Aurobindo in the Introduction) is unpardonable. Bhagavad Gita Commentary Chapter 2 Tuesday, 04 April 2006

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