2.31 You need to remember your own noble spiritual function. To consider wavering, if even for one brief moment, from your recollective fervor in upholding and defending the dharma would prove your absolute downfall.
Paramahansa Yogananda gives a very good overview of the traditional caste-system:
In India the four castes were originally based on the innate qualities and outward actions of the people. All had a respected and necessary place in society. Later, through ignorance, the caste rules became a hereditary halter. Confusion crept in; unworthy children of intellectual and spiritual Brahmins claimed to be Brahmins by sheer virtue of birth, without a corresponding spiritual stature. Children of Kshatriyas became soldiers and rulers even if they had no aptitude or skill in arms or capability to govern. The children of the Vaishyas, even without understanding management of culture or trade, laid claim to their inheritance as farmers or businessmen. Sudras were confined to menial labor and servitude, regardless of their superior qualifications. This rigid hereditary caste system is defended only by the orthodox minority in India. (Paramahansa Yogananda, God Talks With Arjuna, The Bhagavad Gita, Royal Science of God-Realization, pg. 247)
It’s unfortunate how degradation set-in and soiled a once Noble Caste formulation. The Gita expounds upon that once Noble Age, and Arjuna was caste amongst the spiritual-elite whose task was to uphold that Ariyan (Noble) Spirit of the Dharma. The Lankavatara Sutra would classify his status amongst the Maha-Bodhisattvas. Our series on the Lanka reinforced that its design was aimed primarily for [Maha] Bodhisattvas, those who had realized the Ariyan Spirit-Mind. Hence, the Blessed One will take the time and express in these few stanzas the importance of never falling short of this noble calling, lest (as was truly the case historically) eventual degradation of spirit set-in.
*Also, we can discern from this an interpretation of castes in light of spiritual reality:
The proclivities of those who are ensnared to sensate reality are “the materialists”. This even extends outward in “exterior-fashion” with the mainline religions that place exclusive value of spirit on and through exoteric-worship—rituals and good works for the flesh (enfleshment) of humanity.
Those who begin the cultivation of spiritual wisdom are those who are philosophically bent. They have graduated one step above the material, yet their emphasis and dependence remains with the discriminative Intellect as their key to freedom from the phenomenal.
The focus next is upon meditative methodologies that attempt to free-spirit from its samsaric-bondage by utilizing various esoteric-techniques that can prevent the proliferation of skandhic-induced reality.
The highest-ascent to Spiritual Truths are engaged in sambodhic-fashion—via the direct-gnosis of the Unborn through bodhicitta, or the full and undivided Enlightened -Tathatic Consciousness; hence engaging in the Recollective and Unitive Powers within Pure Mind Itself without the need of any outside, exoteric agencies.
2.32 You are amongst the most blessed of spiritual-warriors whose noble position has opened-up the gateless-gate to nirvana.
2.33 If you continue to refuse to acknowledge your noble-position you will surely lose your sacred-honor and incur great sin.
Sin means [separation] from the Unborn. Should one who was once graced to uphold this sacred banner of Unborn Light put that banner down, one’s spiritual inner-light would be quenched and the way forever darkened in ignorance.
2.34 They would forever be reminded of your disgrace. Such a fall from the halls of Noble Wisdom is an infamy worse than death.
The body will eventually perish, lying bare it’s decaying and worm-rot bones; worse still is one’s own spiritual perdition—a fate that condemns one’s spirit to the eternal spin of samsara.
2.35 Your own spiritual-peers, who once held you in highest esteem, will now think you cowardly and a dismal failure.
2.36 Your present adversaries will slander and continually deride and mock your spiritual debasement—what could be more humiliating?
2.37 If you are killed in battle, your noble spirit will rush-on to nirvana; if you are victorious, you will enjoy the fruits of spiritual triumph—rise up and claim your sacred prize!
“The Gita is not a justification of war, nor does it propound a war-making mystique…The Gita is saying that even in what appears ‘unspiritual,’ [the material battleground]—inclusion mine] one can act with pure intentions and thus be guided by Krishna consciousness.” —Thomas Merton
2.38 With your Dharma-eye look with indifference on the battlefield of pleasure and pain, victory or defeat. In this fashion you will remain united with the Unborn Will.
Cloaked within the purview of the Eye of Transcendent Wisdom (Dharma-eye), Arjuna will be empowered to see through all false-dharmas with the acumen of undivided awareness power. Thus he will be yoked with the Luminous-Spirit-Body-Mind of the Unborn Will and will see the fundamental component of reality as it is fully revealed—the very nature of śūnyatā.
*These verses have conveyed the importance of the Noble Spiritual-Warrior upholding the inner-nirvanic kingdom of the Dharmakaya—the ultimate Truth Body. Refusal to fight this inner-spiritual battle will only reinforce and invite Mara’s marauding hordes to extinguish one’s inner-light of the Unborn. Also, those who have fought this worthy inward-righteous-fight will, at death, experience the Light of the Dharmatā welcoming them home to the Noble imageless shores of the Dharmakaya.
I think when speaking of duty in the Gita, it is worthwhile to observe the core of Hindu philosophy is disinterest in the actions of the world. The Noble One adopts a renunciative posture whereby he or she releases all hold on the very material or psycho-emotive fruits of one’s incarnate existence, at the same time as one sees the sacred purpose of human life as an emanation of spiritual will, and of fulfilling this duty through detached action.
As we will see in chapter 5, Krishna makes clear desire does not arise from spirit. These wants (and fears) Arjuna experiences, which are causing him to waver, are induced by the nature of incarnate form, and Krishna is indifferent to them.
Therefore Krishna is not exhorting Arjuna to adopt a fatalistic and nihilistic posture; nor is it about the various temporal and worldly actions theselves; Krishna calls on Arjuna to fulfill his sacred duty by recognizing no matter what happens on this field of battle, the Spirit is ultimately transcendent.
The duty Krishna speaks of is not worldly, although it takes place in a worldly frame of reference and points to worldly results (as well as Nirvanic results): it is a spiritual duty he speaks of to see the world for what it is, and it is important to consider this as the song moves forward in the later chapters.
Nice panjiao you got there! Every panjiao has a rule: “Place myself at the top!” – Aristotle did this, when he classified all human endeavours in a hierarchy and put “Philosophy” at the top! Hegel did the same, when he interpreted History as evolution, and so necessarily saw himself as the pinnacle, the end point of evolution.
You crafted for yourself a nice panjiao that puts mystics of the Unborn at the top!
The Huayan and Tiantai scholars which are the pinnacle of Buddhism classified things differently … the mystics of the Unborn would be in the penultimate category, while the highest would be the Perfect Teaching.
The best Zennist was Yanshou Yongming I really recommend reading about him. Even better than Zongmi.
The Huayan and Tiantai scholars which [are the pinnacle of Buddhism] classified things differently … the mystics of the Unborn would be in the penultimate category, while the highest would be the Perfect Teaching. [brackets mine]
Oh, ok…down from the “top” then. That’s cool…
I’m not talking about some hocus pocus. It’s very simple what I’m saying. It’s about the relationship between principle and phenomena.
The Integrated Teaching is the one that can demonstrate a perfect interfusion / interpenetration between Principle and phenomena.
This is the same in Western and Eastern philosophy.
In the West Hegel was the most successful in this endevaor but he wasn’t as good as Hua-yan and even more , Tiantai – which were the only one to demonstrate the complete, absolute, interpenetration.
Now if you say I’m just a Slovenian idiot without spiritual experience I will just nod and agree. But “interprenetration” also means Buddhahood intepenetrates with idiocy.
The absolute distinction between “enlightened individual” and “idiot” pertains to the Separate Teaching which isn’t yet the Integrated / Perfect teaching.
I keep saying the same thing over and over it’s not hard to grasp for advanced yogis like you & N. Yeti. I’m just an idiot philosopher.
So instead of reading my comment with prejudice and presupposition try to really read what I’m writing. I’m not attacking you.
Methexis, the mind is a vessel whose shape is precisely that of its contents. If your discipline and faith keeps your practice on an even keel, I cannot and will not dispute your realization of this. A teacher is someone who has something to teach us; if there is nothing to learn from a teacher, that person is not a teacher. There is no need to debase others’ beliefs when teachings are of little effect or incompatible with our spiritual realizations. It is my deepest understanding that to manifest such destructive energies can only foil our attempts to refine our own dhyana practice.
“Destructive energies” is an exaggeration. I’m not debasing anyone. Don’t be so sensitive. We’re all being debased all the time. Sucking each other’s d … is not productive.
Instead of thinking about the drama here you could be researching what is meant by “Separate Teaching”, perhaps it would refine your “dhyana practice” – whatever you mean by that
In my exp. there’s a lot of talk of “dhyana practice” but very little practice done. How much do you practice daily?
I have researched this view and have realized its dualism.
I meditate once or twice a day in z a zen and study dharma about three or four hours a day. Not very much but adequate as a householder, whose duties preclude attention to all but the most severe spiritual emergency such as you are experiencing.
What do you do during zazen exactly? Can you describe your dhyana practice, or is it too personal?
I could but it would be not that.