You can read the previous part here: Chapter 6
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In the previous chapters of the Gita, Lord Krishna explains to Arjuna the several paths to enlightenment. He explains the path of action, the path of wisdom, the path of devotion, and finally about meditation. Now, he finally starts to divulge some information about himself.
Lord Krishna says that he is the five great elements (earth, fire, water, wind, and ether) and much more. He is immeasurable, and he is in everything in existence.
He is in all of us, in our indestructible soul. We aren’t just specks of dust in this vast universe. We are indestructible specks of dust.
Lord Krishna, or any god that you believe in for that matter, such as God, Allah, Ahura Mazda, or just Nature, is in everything. There is no exception to this. So there is nothing wrong in, say, eating fruitcakes or latkes on Diwali to celebrate instead of laddoos. Well, your stomach might hate you in either case, but God certainly won’t.
The same is true for offering food at a temple. There is nothing wrong with offering non-Indian food at a temple. In fact, this may be an unpopular opinion, but why give food to the temple at all? In ancient times, temples were meant to give food to the poor, and the offerings went to that. However, if you offer food to the deity now, they’ll probably end up in your or another temple patron’s stomach, as they are distributed as prasad.
Not all poor people can come to a temple, and not every poor person is of your faith. Instead of giving to the temple, give directly to a food bank or charity. There is nothing wrong with giving to a temple, but I’m sure that Allah would be much happier if you gave food to the poor.
There is no punishment for not offering food at a temple. And there certainly is nothing wrong with offering latkes, fruitcakes, peanut butter, or any foods that are not traditional. I’m sure the poor would appreciate a fruitcake.
To better understand what Lord Krishna says, we need to look at Pure Land Buddhism. In Pure Land Buddhism, the notion of a “pure land” is explored. In this, there are five levels of pure lands, and our life is similar. These five levels are all things we can improve in our life.
One of the major rules of pure lands is that if one wished to attain a pure land, worked hard toward it, and had sufficient merit, they would be reborn there. According to Pure Land Buddhism, there have always been pure lands for the enlightened ones, but not ones for the seekers. The Buddha Amitabha established such rules, as he recognized that not everyone was enlightened. But people wanted to be enlightened.
The Five Pure Abodes are:
Avrha, the state of being free from pain and desires. This can be attained in many ways, but pain is a choice. Pain doesn’t need to be looked upon as a bad thing. Changing one’s mindset can make a big difference.
Atapa, the state of being without torment. One can take insults in any way they wish. Insults can be hurtful, or they can be rejected.
Sudrsa, the state of having perfect form. Fitness is important in life, and everyone needs to be fit, from the inside or outside.
Sudarsana, the state of having perfect vision. The “vision” that is referred to here is actually meaning awareness. Perfect awareness, according to the Buddha Shakyamuni, is actually the ability to have a mind so clear that it can see every one of one’s past life.
The final pure land is called Akanista. This is simply described as the “highest”. Essentially, this is the state of being in harmony with nature, having complete control of yourself, and (depending on whether you believe in them or not) being one with god.
That’s it for this post. I hope you enjoyed reading this, and I’ll see you next time.
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You can read the next part here: Chapter 8