The story of my experiments with truth

Greg Goode goode at DPW.COM
Sun Nov 16 02:25:35 CST 1997

At 04:09 PM 11/15/97 -0500, Jaldhar H. Vyas wrote ( > ):
>On Fri, 14 Nov 1997, Greg Goode wrote ( >> ):
>> I understand your point about Krisna's arguments for karma yoga meaning the
>> duties of caste.  True, this is how Krishna's point instantiates in the
>> case of Arjuna.  But the emphasis on duty is generalizable to other
>> cultures and other sources of duty, as well as referring to the duties of
>> caste.
>To a Vedantin of any stripe any source duty which does not derive from the
>Vedas is illegitimate.

This means either that according to a Vedantin, either (a) there are no
duties in non-Vedic cultures, or (b) all proper duties in all cultures have
their source in the Vedas.  Do you mean something like (a) or (b)?

>> To deny this generalizeability would be to assert that Krishna is
>> arguing, "if you belong to no caste, you have no duties," which is plainly
>> false.
>To a traditionalist the idea of a person with no caste is an

What about to a non-traditionalist?  To a traditionalist, what caste am I a
member of?

>> Every society has some notion of duty, the notion being contingent
>> upon the society.
>This is a modern notion.

Yes, we are modern people, using a modern means of communication,
discussing the relevance of ancient ideas to our modern lives.  We are
using modern languages and dialectic.  (Ghandiji was a modern man too.)
All of our discussion seems to pile more and more evidence in favor of the
generalizability of this marvelous scripture.  My subject here is not
Ghandi as Gita expositor; rather I'm arguing against a culturally,
temporally or literalistically narrow view of the Gita as being the only
valid view.  Time and history will prove that there are other valid, wider

>Prior to the modern era, it wouldn't have
>occured to anyone anywere to compare societies in such a relativistic
>manner.  For the pre-modern person, there was their own society and there
>were the unbelievers.  Sometimes the unbelievers were hated, sometimes
>feared, but mostly they were ignored.

Cultural relativism IS a modern notion, so?  And yes, pre-modern societies
all did have the notion of "our own" and then the unbelievers/barbarians.
How does this relate to the discussion of the Gita?  Are you saying that
because the Gita was written under the pre-modern mind-set, it must even
NOW be taken in a way that ignores all cultures it wasn't written under?
Can't Krishna's karma yoga explanations be relevant to the modern corporate
warrior, on the eve of a hostile takeover transaction??

>> This is partly why the Gita is such a profound book.
>> Though emanating from one culture, it is relevant for all.
>Maybe.  But your culturally translated Gita is different from _the_ Gita.

Precisely!  You see, the very fact that it withstands cultural, temporal
and linguistic translation is even more evidence of its profundity and
greatness for all.


--Greg Goode

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