Thursday, February 7, 2013

Two Thoughts, One Idea?

These are the same two verses of the Bhagavad Gita, 6:5-6, but offered by different translators.

One must deliver himself with the help of his mind, and not degrade himself. The mind is the friend of the conditioned soul, and his enemy as well.

For him who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends; but for one who has failed to do so, his mind will remain the greatest enemy.

Bhagavad Gita As It Is

Reshape yourself through the power of your will; never let yourself be degraded by self-will. The will is the only friend of the Self, and the will is the only enemy of the Self.

To those who have conquered themselves, the will is a friend. But it is the enemy of those who have not found the Self within them.

Eknath Easwaran translation
(I love his translation. Buy the book!)

It's interesting to me. I can see that they say the same thing, but as i read them they offer me slightly different messages. To "deliver" yourself and to "reshape" yourself seem different to me; one is the goal of the spiritual path and the other is what i do on a day-to-day, hour-by-hour basis to mold myself, my personality, in such a way that this transformation/deliverence is able to take place.

And how do you do this? You use your will, that limited portion of everything that is you "mind," to make changes in your life, to your way of thinking, your way of looking at the world, your way of understanding the process of perception, your daily activities, and on and on, in order to effect changes in your personality. On the larger scale, though, it is only with the full power of everything that is the mind that deliverence can be achieved.

The mind is the friend of "the conditioned soul." Oh so true, and that's why it never wants to let it go. It is its only friend. If this friend ever understands the lies and deceit, the conditioned soul is a goner. It knows that.

Conquering the mind — conquering ourselves, is that the best choice of words? I don't look at this path as one of "conquering." It's like conquering mountains; you don't conquer Mt. Everest, you simply put in the work you know is required, never giving up, stumbling occasionally, but restarting after the shortest of breaks, and persisting. Eventually the summit comes into clearer and clearer views, until finally you find the views from the top stunningly, unimaginably beautiful, even though no one is seeing them as "you" are completely lost in "what is."

As you stand there, though, the rest of the world, back down below, still exists with people living out their fantasies, fools still fumbling around, and everyone wandering around blind to what and where you are. No, there is no conquering, the mountain is still there for others to climb, many people just don't have the will to make themselves do the work, or have no interest in mountain climbing because they have never seen the benefits of a world full of mountain climbers and summiters.

Same book, same verses, same intent, basically the same message. Different translations. Interesting.

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