Stuck in Temporality (Karttika 2012)

I’m in NYC this week for fall break but am leading a fall breakout trip (hence no home and no rest!). It’s a trip studying religious diversity & faith-based service in urban communities and we’re traveling all around the city over the course of the next week visiting different communities and doing service projects.

Well, hopefully. There’s a decent chance that the storm may leave us stuck in our residence church for two days. I’d be really grieved to miss some of our planned activities (Hindu temples in Queens, meeting some wonderful faith-based organizers, and my own personal ventures of visiting my friend’s classes at Union, meeting with some of my own dear teachers, and returning to my own temple). I’m hoping that if that happens I’ll be able to escape to my house in Brooklyn because I really miss being there and because being with a large group like this really frazzles my nerves. As one of the group leaders I’m kind of always on call. I appreciate the gravity of the responsibility but am very much struggling with my own impatience and self-centeredness. I’m trying to be very aware of this this week without getting too bogged down in self-analysis.

This morning in my daily Gita reading, Krishna was telling Arjuna to not worry about temporalities – even death.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: While speaking learned words, you are mourning for what is not worthy of grief. Those who are wise lament neither for the living nor for the dead.

Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be. (2.11-12)

Sri Krishna recognizes Arjuna as one of great wisdom and prowess, but Arjuna lacks faith in and understanding of the eternal. Two observations here were very powerful for me: that it’s possible for me to have a lot of knowledge and capacity without real knowledge of truth (and that sometimes these go hand in hand), and that despite my fears of loss of self, somehow there is no death of self.

I think this is talking about a different type of existence/nonexistence than the plane I operate on.

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One thought on “Stuck in Temporality (Karttika 2012)

  1. ” it’s possible for me to have a lot of knowledge and capacity without real knowledge of truth…”

    I always struggle with this dichotomy as well, and for me, it seems to boil down, more often than not, to the difference between “knowing” (jnana) and “realization” (vijnana). Although I have never heard a discussion of this in relation to this verse, it seems that perhaps this might be operative in Krsna’s instructions. Either way, it always seems easier to “know” something and much, much harder to put it into practice on a daily basis.

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