“Your duty as a soldier is to fight for your religion. Do not hesitate; this is the best
you can do for your religion. For soldiers like you, this is an opportunity to reach Paradise. If you do not fight, that will be a sin. You’ll be disgraced. It is better to die (and go to Paradise) than let others speak of your infamy. Noble fighters will take you to be a coward. You’d either go to heaven if you die, or will enjoy fame and wealth if you win. So fight for the sake of fighting (to attain heaven or wealth), loss or gain, victory or defeat, killing will bring you glory, not sin. “
Those probably are the motivational words the ISI Major spoke to Kasab and company while they were preparing to attack Bombay on 26/11. Those were , almost precisely, the words that the trainer of a suicide outfit in London told his students (which included a white convert) while preparing them to bomb London. Unfortunately, they were recorded by London intelligence and caught before they could carry out the holy job. BBC ran a program on that recording. The white guy was hesitant and rather unconvinced; the trainer taught him exactly what to say when he met Allah. The trainer even knew the questionnaire that Allah would pose to him when he reached paradise and tutored him what to say.
Don’t gloat over those Al- Qaeda-style instructions. Those were in fact the words that I have quoted from Bhagavad Gita 2.31 to 2.38.
That white guy was hesitant because of fear for his life may be, or was worried about the uselessness of wanton killing. Perhaps the assurance that Allah would appreciate the deed did make a difference to his thought process. Arjuna, on the other hand, was distressed at the possibility of killing nearly all of his kith and kin – “fathers, grand-fathers, uncles, fathers-in-law, every kind of relatives’ (2.35). Krishna, unlike the Islamic terrorist of London, did not have to assure him that he would meet God and that He would be pleased. Instead Lord Krishna spent chapters after chapters to reassure him that He was God himself. Arjuna possibly wasn’t convinced enough – so the Lord braced himself up and showed His true form. (This awesome display took place in the middle of the battle field where the warring parties ware arrayed on either side. Why the opponents did not get frightened and run away beats me). Furthermore, I can’t help admiring the Kaurava’s side (Great-Grandfathers, fathers, teachers et al) for holding their horses – literally – for the three or four hours it must have taken Krishna and Arjuna for chatting away in the middle of the battle field.
The terrorist in London did not philosophise about the consequence of killing. He probably read out aloud Quranic verses , 2:191, 4:89, 8:65, 9:29, 5:33, and so on from the Holy Book. As Mahatma Gandhi and other wisemen had said, all religions lead you right down the same garden path.
Lord Krishna, being God himself, does not quote other’s verses. He philosophises
killing. Killer is not a killer, nor the one presumed killed is killed. (2.19). Killing is like helping a soul discard his old garments and put on new ones (2.22). One who is born is bound to die, and the dead one would take rebirth. So your killing( your relatives and teachers) Should cause no sorrow . They aren’t there to start with; they are there interim, and then they aren’t there any more. So why cry? Soul is an amazing and incomprehensible thing. It’s what dwells in your body – it cannot be killed. So why grieve for those whom you kill? (2.27 to 2.30).
Why, then, can’t Hegde-Kageri and all his fellow faithfuls (which, according to him, is the whole Country – see quotes from him below) enact a law that killing is perfectly legal? One might argue that Krishna was speaking of killing in war, which is a duty. If fighting between cousins for land is war, don’t the communities that fight each other see it as a war for existence? Ask Mr. Modi at Gandhinagar. Weren’t Bhinderwale’s men and Indira Gandhi ‘s Congress at war with each other? What difference does it make to the deathless souls whether they are being made to change their wardrobe in war or in a communal or personal clash?
Let me now quote Mr. Kageri as he is reported to have stated to Times of India:
“This Country believes in the Gita. Those who oppose it and believe in philosophies that are not of this country can go there and propagate them……..The Bhagavad Gita is accepted as one of the greatest epics of all times. No light can challenge sunlight, no other religious epic can compete with the Bhagavad Gita. Ethical values preached in the Gita have been accepted by many foreign countries. So there is no fun discussing the merits of the Gita“This Country believes in the Gita. Those who oppose it and believe in philosophies that are not of this country can go there and propagate them……..The Bhagavad Gita is accepted as one of the greatest epics of all times. No light can challenge sunlight, no other religious epic can compete with the Bhagavad Gita. Ethical values preached in the Gita have been accepted by many foreig”
-Visheshwara Hegde Kageri.Tuesday, 19th July, 2011. Report on the “Times Nation”
page of TOI (Delhi Edition) dated July 21, 2011
What Mr. Kageri meant by “this Country beleives in Gita” is that this is a Hindu Nation; forget the Constitution. Let’s drop that. Mr. Kageri obviously has not read Gita. If he did, he has not understood the Sanskrit verses. Most television-show talkers on Gita are more interested to wow the audience with their stale humour and
flying-on-tangent parables. Kageri might not have the time to even attend one
of those discourses.
Mr. Kageri, Bhagavad Gita, by no reckoning, is an epic. The “Divine Song” is a piece extracted from the incredible epic called Mahabharatam and expanded to glorify fratricide on the one hand, and Lord Krishna himself on the other. It’s a philosophy that justifies Aurangazeb imprisoning his father; Indira Gandhi’s favourite bodyguards shooting her to death. What other “epics” have you read, Mr. education minister, to conclude that no other epic can compete with Bhagavad Gita? No other religion is based on epics. Not Bible, not Quran, not even Granth Sahib lays a claim to being epic. True, some white men (who are always the authority – don’t we see our babas promenading a couple of paid whites in front of them to establish their spiritual superiority?) have certified Gita to be a great scripture. But they have also praised, often more forcefully, the other scriptures.
What, indeed, are the ethical values preached by Bhagavad Gita?
Murdering kinsmen and teachers to acquire lands you did not inherit?
That the illegitimate sons of a wayward woman, sharing a common wife among all five of them (Mahabharat doesn’t say anywhere that polyandry was practised by anyone else at that time), hopeless gamblers ready to stake their wife, casteist and unfair in competitions, are nobler than the sons of a devoted and chaste woman who went blind through her married life to emulate her blind husband and bore him many children who were charitable in their dealing with even a chariot-driver?
That killing – whether at war or otherwise – is an inconsequential thing?
That you shouldn’t worry about the results but do your duty? What does that mean, how would one carry out his duty unless he has an idea about the expected results , if one did not have a motivation? Are you doing your duty as a minister without caring
whether your state goes to dog? (Apparently, that’s what seems to be the motto of your CM; is that also yours?)
That Vedas – probably the most ancient documents in the world – are flowery nonsense designed for gratification of senses (2.42-46) or that they are the fountains of knowledge directly manifested by God himself(3.15)?
That the greatest sinner can sail through the miseries of punishment by simply acquiring knowledge of scriptures? (Haven’t we read that elsewhere – in the Bible, for instance?)
That we should all lose interest in others, shed attachment to our families, discard our God-given senses and seek self-realization? (Everybody speaks of self realization as a great goal but what, indeed, is that? Simply put, you don’t know who you are, and need to become a yogi to find that out? )
That casteism is the most essential need of the society; destroying caste system would take those responsible to hell? (Arjuna to Krishna Chapter 1.42,43) or that mixing – interbreeding between castes – (Sankara) of varnas (castes) would be a terrible thing to happen (Krishna to Arjuna)?
That colour discrimination among men is God(Krishna)-ordained, based on character and deed and is hence sacrosanct?(4.13). (Ku Klux Klan, welcome to Karnataka! You have the same philosophy as Krishna’s, and have had many reincarnations like Him)
That an evil-doer will be forgiven and sent to heaven by worshipping Krishna single-heartedly (9.30)? (Didn’t Jesus’ God and Allah say the same thing? Why do you think George Bush, Osama Bin Laden and Narendra Modi –not forgetting Daood Ibrahim – look so smug in their photographs? They are all pious men, and will go to Heaven while AK Anthony, our godless Defence Minister won’t – his integrity has no meaning to God. Looks like I could keep him company in hell).
That you should sit on a poor deer’s skin to practise yoga and to meditate upon Krishna? (6.12). Why persecute actor Salman Khan, who was probably trying to get one of those God-ordained deer skins to use as his prayer mat?
That righteousness and the rich are identical? (6.41). (Despite Jesus’ saying that the rich would not go to heaven just as a camel cannot pass through a needle-hole, there are many passages in Bible that agree with this view).
That even the lowest class of humans – women, trading class and the lower castes in that order -might go to heaven by worshipping Krishna? (9.32). Is it any wonder that the audiences for televised discourses on Gita are mostly women?
That the theory of evolution is all wrong – what is right is that seven Rishis (Saptarshis) and four Manus were born from Krishna’s mind; that all creatures of the world were born from them(10.6). (Oh, God, why did I take my grandchildren out of that Grace International school and put them in an ‘International’ school in India? Aren’t they all implying the same thing – that science is bullshit?)
Should we teach our young students that the mighty wind, after blowing everywhere, rests in the sky (9.6) and that the rain is a result of yajna or sacrifice (3.14)? Poor godless Chinese and North Koreans as well as Buddhist Srilankans should be baking in drought.
Kageri is probably right in saying that there are countries practising the ethics of Gita. Pakistan, for example. Sudan, till recently. Afghanistan, under Taliban. Former Republic of Yugoslavia. Like them, you can’t tolerate a different opinion, a different view. Why, Mr. Kageri, waste your time persuading the non-believers to get out of the Country? Why not do the duty that Lord Krishna cajoled Arjuna to carry out – like, say, Slobodan Milosevic did?
Even after the unholy and treachearous war was won, Pandavas did not give up
their duty of killing those who were not with the philosophy of Gita. Charvaka, who argued with logic against Brahminism and their concept of God was burnt alive in Yudhishtira’s court. A prelude to Goa inquisition. Like Hindus admire Pandavas, Catholics praise St. Xavier and worship his shriveled body kept in an airtight casket and put on show periodically. It was Xavier who inspired the first holocaust in history.
Mr. Kageri, I could go on citing verses from the Gita that you have never read. But it would serve no purpose.
Not long ago I met a young boy – perhaps not older than 11 or 12 – reciting Quran aloud from memory at Dhaka airport. A couple, obviously his parents, were beaming with pride.
“Does he know the whole Holy Quran?” I asked the father. I wore a trimmed beard; my intention couldn’t be doubted.
“Of course. Not just Quran” He whispered a few holy words on mentioning the name. “He is first in school in all subjects. English, Bangla, science – everything.”
The boy had paused.
“Son,” I said, “what would you wish to be when you grow up – a doctor, scientist – or what?”.
“A preacher,” he said without hesitation. “I want to spread Islam throughout the world.”
“What if some people resist?”
The boy looked agitated. “I’ll kill the haram kafirs,” he said.
He must have grown up now. I guess they might make him the education minister when Khalida Zia is back in the chair. He might by then hopefully moderate his view and only demand that non-believers leave the country.
Just after I wrote that reminiscence about the Dhaka boy, came the news of another Nishkama karma – action without desiring results. Anders Behring Breivik, a 32-year old Arjun of Norway. He shot down 91 or more of his brethren (not forgetting
sisters) in the name of an ideology contained in a 1500-page manifesto – larger than Bhagavad Gita, even larger than Mahabharatam. Breivik was a right-wing
Like, one would presume, Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri.
Someone said religious faith is a great leveler. So is the graveyard.