May 9 – Bhagavad Gita

Having returned from a 5-day meditation retreat, it was perfect timing to read the 700-verse poem Bhagavad Gita for the first time.

A close friend lent me the Stephen Mitchell translation and I also listened to an audiobook version by AC Bhaktivedanta on YouTube that is also available at

See book covers below.

Here is today’s senryu:

The Song of the Blessed One

many paths, so choose

the one that is right for you

all paths lead to One


Here is some additional information from Wikipedia:

The Bhagavad Gita’s synthetic answer recommends that one must resist the ‘either-or’ view and consider a ‘both-and’ view. It states that the dharmic householder can achieve the same goals as the renouncing monk through “inner renunciation” or “motiveless action”. One must do the right thing because one has determined that it is right, states Gita, without craving for its fruits, without worrying about the results, loss or gain. Desires, selfishness, and the craving for fruits can distort one from spiritual living … there is Living God in every human being and the devoted service to this Living God in everyone – without craving for personal rewards – is a means to spiritual development and liberation … the teachings in the Gita differ from other Indian religions that encouraged extreme austerity and self-torture of various forms. The Gita disapproves of these, stating that not only is it against tradition but against Krishna himself, because ‘Krishna dwells within all beings, in torturing the body the ascetic would be torturing him’, … Even a monk should strive for “inner renunciation” rather than external pretensions.

The Gita synthesizes several paths to spiritual realization based on the premise that people are born with different temperaments and tendencies … some individuals are more reflective and intellectual, some affective and engaged by their emotions, some are action driven, yet others favor experimentation and exploring what works. It then presents different spiritual paths for each personality type respectively: the path of knowledge, the path of devotion, the path of action, and the path of meditation … the Gita states that none of these paths to spiritual realization is ‘intrinsically superior or inferior’, rather they ‘converge in one and lead to the same goal’.

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