Love is one of the most spoken and least unde rstood words. Love is commonly equated with sensual enjoyment, but does such superficial titillation offer substantial satisfaction to the heart? The suffering of the stomach hungry for food is well recognized, but the agony of the heart hungry for love is often overlooked.
In our modern love starved society, the conclusion of the Gita's philososphy its hidden message of love is a much needed healing balm.
Real love is based on wisdom, not just sentiment. Therefore Krsna starts His message of love by telling Arjuna that we are all souls, spiritual beings (Bg. 2.13), entitled to rejoice in eternal love with the supremely lovable and loving God, Krsna. When our loving nature is contaminated by selfishness, we start loving things more than persons especially the Supreme Person. This misdirected love forges our misidentification with our temporary bodily coverings and impels us to exploit others for our self centered desires. The virtuous Arjuna exemplifies the pristine loving soul, whereas the vicious Duryodhana exemplifies the perverted soul afflicted by selfishness. A well wishing doctor who doesn't want to cause any pain to anyone may still have to carry out a painful amputation to save a patient. Similarly, Krsna exhorts, Arjuna too has to surgically separate Duryodhana, and his allies, from their selfishness infected bodies to heal their eternal souls.
In addition to the historicity, the mentalities exemplified by Arjuna and Duryodhana are present in our own hearts too. The battlefield setting of the Gita beckons all of us to become spiritual warriors and conquer the selfish lower self with the selfless higher self. Just as the wisdom of the Gita empowered Arjuna, it can empower us too for heralding the reign of love in our hearts and in the world at large.
Krsna, the speaker of the Gita, is an enigma for many. The sporting, loving cowherd youth Krsna of Vrndavana seems to contrast starkly with the philosophical, analytical diplomat warrior Krsna of Kuruksetra. Could it be that Kuruksetra shows the way to Vrndavana? Could the Kuruksetra message, its battlefield backdrop notwithstanding, be essentially a gospel of pure spiritual love? And could the Vrndavana pastimes, their pastoral romantic context notwithstanding, be a demonstration of that gospel?
In the Gita, Krsna offers a concise overview of the various paths for spiritual progress: dhyana-yoga, jnana-yoga, karma-yoga, or bhakti-yoga. Simultaneously throughout the Gita, He drops clues that there is a secret message; a secret that only a heart filled with love can fathom (Bg. 4.3). Finally at the climax of the Gita (18.64-66), He bares His heart's love in a disarmingly sweet revelation, "Hear still further the greatest secret of all, My supreme message: 'You are dearly loved by Me'. Therefore I shall speak for your well being. Be mindful of Me, with love offered to Me, sacrificing for Me, act out of reverence for Me. Truly you shall come to Me this I promise for you are dearly loved by Me. Completely relinquishing all forms of dharma, come to Me as your only shelter. I shall grant you freedom from all misfortune do not despair." Thus the Gita is essentially a revelation of Divinity's love for humanity as well as a love call for humanity's reciprocal love for Divinity. Before the unequivocal finale, the message of love is both concealed and revealed. It is concealed because Krsna lovingly accommodates those not yet ready to love Him by delineating other paths for their gradual spiritual growth. And it is revealed because Krsna is longing for our love. As the former Beatle George Harrison immortally sang, Krsna is "the God who loves those who love Him". Let us therefore tread the path of love revealed by Krsna. Let us love and be loved.
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