Tag Archives: religion

Gay Marriage in the Bhagavad Gita, Part 3

Some of my readers, including at least one confirmed scholar in the field of Vedic literature, have commented that when Krishna speaks of acting according to one’s own nature or ‘dharma’ in the Gita verse I referenced two posts back, he is specifically referring to Arjuna’s social duty as a warrior, which, in this case, is to uphold the cause of justice by fighting a defensive war. One may reasonably ask: ‘why is this duty specifically assigned to Arjuna?’ The answer is that Arjuna is distinctively qualified to be a member of the warrior class within the highly structured social system that Krishna advocates throughout the Gita.

What is Arjuna’s distinctive qualification to belong to the warrior class and not some other class? For one thing, Krishna consistently refers to Arjuna’s royal lineage that confers upon Arjuna a natural aptitude for martial arts, leadership and heroism. Krishna also encourages Arjuna by calling him ‘mighty-armed one’ and other names that indicate Arjuna’s inherent strength and soldierly skill. In other words, Arjuna’s social duty is not an arbitrary assignment; it’s a function of genetics and fate. Arjuna’s dharma is a function of his karma: he was born that way. Continue reading

Gay Marriage in the Bhagavad Gita, Part 2

In my last post I began to make a case for the idea that the Bhavagad Gita supports gay marriage, a proposition that, not surprisingly, has been applauded by progressive yogis and challenged by orthodox yogis. Being pre-disposed towards personal civil liberties (no, I am not a Ron Paul supporter!), I wrote the first installment on this topic thinking primarily about the rights and obligations that marriage bestows on the parties involved. Early in the Gita, Krishna confirms our spiritual status as eternally unique individuals (chapter 2, verse 12) and, at the end of the Gita, Krishna encourages Arjuna to make up his own mind about what he should do (chapter 18, verse 63). Hence, an essential lesson from the Gita is that we are endowed with free will; the right and responsibility to decide for ourselves how we should each respond to our own destiny.

When a government, secular or theocratic, imposes unreasonable restrictions on how we may respond to our destiny – such as restricting our right to choose who can visit us in the hospital when we’re sick, who is permitted to make critical decisions on our behalf when we are unable to make them for ourselves, who is qualified to inherit our assets, dispose of our liabilities, or take over legal guardianship of our children when we die, etc. – then that constitutes an unreasonable imposition of state will on our spiritually inherent free will; an injustice. Arjuna’s dharma – his social obligation – is to fight in defense of justice. The Gita presents Arjuna as a role model for aspiring yogis. One can therefore reasonably argue that depriving gay couples of the rights enjoyed by straight couples is an injustice that ought to be opposed by anyone who aspires to follow in Arjuna’s footsteps. Continue reading

Beyond ‘Scampi’: Q & A with Dan K, Part 2

Returning to my dialogue with Dan K, here are Dan’s next questions and comments:

“… when did the classical text become divine? I took it to heart when David Life proclaimed to hundreds of yogis at the Catholic Monastery in DC that yoga is not a religion.”

I’ve heard David say that on several occasions. Now let’s contrast his statement with this one from the Jivamukti Yoga book, which he co-authored with Sharon Gannon:

“To serve and get closer to God is the only reason to practice or teach yoga. Without the desire for God, asana is meaningless exercise. Without devotion, Yoga cannot be attained.”

This appears to be a contradiction. Continue reading