Monday, September 23, 2013

The Purity of Love

I am so overdue for a post here, I know I know. So much has happened in the last four weeks--geeze, I guess it really has been about that long--and I've been thinking about how to write about it, and it's all bigger than I have time for now.

But I have time for this and I'm thinking about it a lot. This month, I've been taking a class at one of my favorite yoga studios in the city about the Bhagavad Gita. Simply put, the Gita is the penultimate holy Hindu text. It's often compared to the bible, and has at times reminded me of various books of the Bible--Job, I Kings, and even a gospel or two. The book is basically a conversation between Arjuna, a kick-ass warrior who has to fight a battle that gives him great moral concern, and Krisha, his charioteer, also known as the Supreme Being, all gods in all places and times, creator sustainer destroyer: The Shit.

This week I read a passage wherein Krishna shows Arjuna his true self. It basically scares the crap out of Arjuna, and he falls down, stunned and astonished beyond any capacity for reason. Krishna returns to his regular, nice-guy charioteer, and Krishna says to him,

Very rarely seen/is this form of mine/that you have seen./Even the divinities/are always/desiring a vision of me.
Not by the study of the Vedas,/ nor by austerity,/ nor by giving,/ nor by sacrifice/Am I able to be seen/ in such a form/ as you have seen me.
Only by the offering of/ one's love to none other,/ O Arjuna, am I able,/ in such a form, To be known and/ to be truly seen, and to be attained,/ O Fighter of the Enemy. 
This knocked me out. Krishna says to his friend, "The only reason you can see me, is because the love you've offered me, the love we share, is so pure and true." I thought what a beautiful metaphor for relationship this is: perhaps we can only show ourselves, our true selves, to the people who can love us most certainly. To love someone is to put up with a lot, to give a lot and to tolerate a lot. Do the people you love really see you? Are you showing your real self to the people who love you the truest, the most certainly and ardently?

This question has a lot of resonance for me right now, contemplating how to self-promote. The very idea of work like this makes my teeth ache. I expect I'll get over that someday. Or else, I'll find some other way to live. In the meantime, I like thinking of a relationship wherein one can be so transparent about his true identity because he is loved so purely by his friend.

A wooden Krishna in Bangalore. This guy seems really easy to hang out with (there should be a flute in his hands) and he apparently was quite popular with the ladies. Don't cross him though, because according to the Gita, he will melt your face off.

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