Typographical error in the Bhagavad-Gita?

Martin Gansten Martin.Gansten at TEOL.LU.SE
Sat Jan 8 07:01:47 UTC 2000

>The verse itself implies knowledge of belief in evolution
>toward liberation through rebirth.

There is, to my knowledge, *no* idea of evolution towards liberation in any
school of Indian thought (excepting perhaps, in a certain sense, the
Ajivikas); this is a modern, Theosophical concept bearing the stamp of 19th
century optimism and belief in progress. Traditionally, transmigration is
conceived of as a process without beginning and without natural end: if
left to itself, it will go on ad infinitum. Liberation from this endless
cycle is seen (by the Gita and Upanishads as well as by Jaina and Bauddha
texts) as requiring conscious and persistent effort.

>What else could Krisna be talking
>about. The new idea offered is salvation through taking refuge in the
>deity as versus the older order of karmic evolution.

This 'new' idea is not introduced by the Gita; it is found in several of
the later classical Upanishads (e.g., Svet. 6.18). And the older
Upanishadic idea was not salvation by evolution, but salvation by gnosis.
Nor is this doctrine rejected by the Gita; rather, taking refuge in the
deity is seen as conducive to gnosis (e.g., BhG 10.11).

I won't comment further on this thread, but I do suggest that anyone
interested in theorizing about the Gita give it (and its major
source-texts) a thorough reading-through first.

Martin Gansten

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