Daily Readings from the Works of Swami Venkatesananda

Song of God (Bhagavad Gita) Chapter 1: 43-44

January 13, 2021

™doṣair etaiḥ kulaghnᾱnᾱṁ varṇasaṁkarakᾱrakaiḥ
utsᾱdyante jᾱtidharmᾱḥ kuladharmᾱś ca śᾱśvatᾱḥ (I-43)

™utsannakuladharmᾱṇᾱṁ manuṣyᾱṇᾱṁ janᾱrdana
narake ’niyataṁ vᾱso bhavatī ’ty anuśuśruma (I-44)

™I/43-44. By these evil deeds of the destroyers of the family,
which cause confusion of castes, the eternal religious rites of
the caste and the family are destroyed. We have heard, O Krishna,
that dwelling in hell for an unknown period is inevitable for those
men in whose families the religious practices have been destroyed.

Swamiji's Commentary


     The hell referred to need not be elsewhere, but here itself! Every war leaves a long, tragic and horrendous trail of widows, orphans, ‘illegitimate’ children, social misfits and outcastes. All this happens even without war, in a rootless or uprooted community. When the motive is physical attraction or material consideration, marriage between people of different cultural backgrounds, intellectual equipment and spiritual values or even tastes and temperaments, sooner or later leads to unhappiness. If some of these families appear to be ‘happy’ it is only because they have no idea at all of real domestic harmony.

     Of course, this does not apply where the parties to the marriage belong to different cultural groups but their intellectual and spiritual equipment is similar or complementary, and they are therefore prepared to and capable of making the necessary adjustments.

     With regard to the social structure, Aldous Huxley says in his ‘Perennial Philosophy’:

     ‘Contemporary history is the hideous record of what happens when political bosses, businessmen or class-conscious proletarians assume the Brahman’s function of form- ulating a philosophy of life; when usurers dictate policy and debate the issues of war and peace; and when the warrior’s caste duty is imposed on all and sundry, regardless of psycho-physical make-up and vocation.’

     Such a world in which this sort of chaos prevails is hell. Whereas in ancient times, even the events in a war were predictable, today our daily life even in peace-time is unpredictable. The result is continuous anxiety and tension.


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