Comments on Bhagavad Gita
MBFM on BG as neo-brahmin propaganda
10.04.10 at 8:24 pm ·
There is an earlier chaper in nemos blog on this subject.
“Agehananda Bharatis comments on the Gita are worth repeating:
14.01.09 at 9:44 pm
Here are some comments about the Bhagavad Gita by an Austrian born Sanskrit scholar and anthropologist, Agehananda Bharati.
Bharati eventually became an ordained sanyassi in the Shankara Dasanami Bharti lineage. Prior to that, he had spent 2 to 3 years as a novice in the Ramakrishna Order and was kicked out, among other things, for catching preceptors in textual errors and refusing to let them get away with it.
Bharati discovered that Hinduism as presented to Westerners and learned by many Indians, is all too often filtered through the biases of the Hindu reform movement, of which Vivekananda was a prime exponent. The Bhagavad Gita has become the favorite text of that movement, almost a badge of identity. Gita classes were compulsory each morning at the Ramakrishna monastery.
Bharati did not approve of that, one bit. Concerning the Bhagavad Gita, he writes:
“I view this particular piece of scripture with much reserve…My gravest misgivings about the poem derive from its inane eclectism and its blatant moral contradictions.
“It preaches violent Junkerism in one place, and extols complete withdrawal from worldly affairs in another; it propounds a half hearted absolutism, avoiding offense to the monistic teachers who seem to have dominated the theological academies of the time, and then it disports a naive theological dualism with a strong sectarian flavor as its doctrinal consummation. Samkaracharya had a hard time to explain away the fundamentally dualistic purport of this scripture and he did not really succeed.
‘Later rationalizations were legion and today the apologetic tells us that the recipient of this teaching starts off as a crude mind and is taken into the deepest truth step by step, so that the doctrines of the later sections supersede the earlier ones. This is an argument that I find not only unhelpful but decidedly nauseous, for if the earlier teachers, especially the ones entailed in such a charming deal as – ‘if you are killed in action, heaven will be your lot; if you survive, you will rule the world, hence fight!’ –are directed to a crude mind, why should they (that is, these very same lines?) be quoted as profound wisdom whenver they are expedient?
‘Finally the Bhagagadgita is not a canonical text in teh strict sense, but it has become one of the emblems of the Hindu Renaissance, and it is hardley any use resenting its popularity. Politicians and saints (Bhartis term for professional religious in India), philosophers and secular teachers have been editing it, rendering it into their own idiom, commenting on it, emphasizing those aspects that corroborated or condoned their particular interests.
‘That is the main difficulty. the text lends itself to any theological slant.’
Later, Bharati referred to an annoying evasion tactic his preceptors resorted to when he caught them in textual or logical errors:
“The moment discursive arguments would jeopardize the axiomatic perfection of the text, the critic is given a simple line:
“Your argument may be valid, but what of it? Only those who have seen the light can see the consistency of the text. Only those who have experienced the truth from within can see that intellectual argument is to no avail in the end…’
Bharati commented, ‘This would hardly be objectionable were the atmosphere among Indian theologicans purely non discursive. But this is not true. They avail themselves of refined discursive scholastic argument all the time and jettison it, the moment their axioms are impugned.
(quote)The Truth about the Geeta–V.R Narla
Gita is the holy book of Hindus. Narla VenkataeswaraRao studied this Ancient Book from all angles and came to the conclusion that it has Devastating effect on Hindus with Karma and re-birth,as well as degrading Caste system. Narla condemned this Scripture with all logic and Human angle. He advised Indian youth to discard Gita for the sake of their future.He exposed the inconsistencies, inaccuracies of the texts, timings and sayings. Narla detested the attitude of Gita towards women in particular. The Rationalist Association of India brought out this publication under HEMA from Chirala,A.P.India.(unquote)
(quote)Orchre Robe–Agehananda Bharati(Andhra Prabha)
Autobiographical study of Agehananda Bharati resulted in banning of this book by government of India during late 1970s. Strong protests were made by writers like Kushwant Singh for banning such book. Ramakrishna Ashram pressurised the government for ban. This book exposed the shallow petty arguments and irrational contradictions of Vivekananda. Agehananda Bharati hailed from Germany, worked with Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose army in Europe,attracted to Indian culture, came to Independent India to join Ramakrishna Ashram. He was entrusted with editing of Vivekananda writings where he saw the narrow mindedness of Vivekananda. He wanted them to be published intact but the Ashram refused,lest the great Swami will be exposed naked before the intellectual world. Agehananda joined Sankara school, toured as pilgrim entire India on foot, saw rural life. He taught in universities at Benares, Delhi, visited Buddhist centers and finally settled down as professor of cultural anthropology at Syracuse University,USA. In India he met M.N.Roy in early 1950s at Dehra Dun and was impressed by his humanist thought.Bharati remained bachelor. He died late 1980s.(actually AB died in the early 1990s–a terrible loss for us)
(quote)The first three sessions revolved around the construction of “mystical India”, and were based on key texts of neo-Hinduism and esotericism. The first session examined the Governor General of India’s introduction to the first English translation of the Bhagavad Gita (1784), and an important text by the Brahmo Samaj leader K.C. Sen on his “New Dispensation” (1881). Also discussed were some of Mme Blavatsky’s comments on yoga, from the viewpoint of the Theosophical Society (also 1881). In the next meeting, we considered two landmarks in the creation of a popular Modern Yoga mythology, namely Paul Brunton’s A Search in Secret India (1934) and Paramahamsa Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi (1946). These extremely popular and evocative texts generated a wave of enthusiasm in the West for mystical India and, in particular, for the practice of yoga, and are illustrative of the way in which Modern Yoga took shape in the popular imagination during the twentieth century. In the third session our focus turned to the myth-busting work of later sceptical academics and “insiders” like Agehananda Bharati (1961) and Gita Mehta (1980). Also discussed was Lee Siegel’s tongue-in-cheek depiction of the making of a modern-day faux-guru (1991). (unquote)