Interview with Haribakth
the author of 19th Akshauhini: algorithm of the Gita
TeamBR_Online: How do you see the contribution of Gita in the daily life? Does it give us the impetus to move ahead or just further perplexes the life of common people with philosophic arguments?
Haribakth: Gita steps in to remove the perplexities of life. 5300 years ago Arjuna, a great devotee was similarly perplexed about his duty and true priorities when God stepped in and put things in proper perspective.
There are no arguments in the Gita. Just perspectives. Humans created arguments. Supposing there were no Gita, What would have happened? The war would have still taken place. Arjuna, true to his nature would have still fought and killed all his enemies. This is vouchsafed by Krishna himself vide BG 18-59 to 18-61. Arjuna would have been poorer in knowledge and with an undesirable attitude. Back to present day, suppose a person is ignorant, He still continues to behave (act as per his nature) helplessly with the wrong attitude. Another analogy, a person is frustrated at work in the office because of the environment, boss, colleagues etc. He can’t give up the work. His appointment with a counsellor /well-wisher can change his attitude and this does make a big difference even though the work he does remains the same but the results vary. Gita is also about how and why of God, life & us.
TeamBR_Online: You have warned at the very beginning of your book that someone who does not believe in the Gita and Lord Krishna should not read this book. What can be the connotations of that statement? People might ask whether Gita gives space to debates or not. How would you tackle those arguments?
Haribakth: The subject matter of my book is Gita’s teachings in perspective, which presupposes existence of God. In Gita itself, it is said that Bhagvan Uvaca (God Spoke) I have commenced my book from that point onwards. A non-believer too may read Gita but serves no useful purpose because he does not believe in God and believes himself to be the authority. There is no common ground for discussion as We devotees do not believe in the authority of Atheists just as they do not believe in the authority/or even existence of God. The discussions are veered towards the contents of the Gita and not the existence or otherwise of its author. It would only generate ill will and arguments and remain inconclusive.
Does Gita give space for debates?
If it didn’t, there would not have been Gita at all. Please remember it is God almighty himself in front of Arjuna and he could have ended the entire discussion in a single sentence, nay a single syllable. Again in the end in BG 18-63, God says, I have expounded to you all the secrets. Reflect upon it and act as you deem fit. Throughout there was dialog and not monologue. At each step, God encouraged Arjuna to clear his doubts.
Back to my book, are the contents therein debatable? I feel that my book is a faithful representation of what God said. If you examine closely, it may be seen that my view of what God said subsumes …..
……… What all the acharyas/pandits/devotees have interpreted so long as it is in conformance with
What God has said
What God has implied
His Glory & its enhancement/highlighting it thereof
His Supremacy and highlighting of it thereof
My book does not condemn or criticize others’ version nor disown the correctness of their version. It is truly Santana (all inclusive and Eternal) accepting all versions like our Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism) If Hindu Dharma is eternal and infallible & accepts into its fold all denominations of faith, how much more so Gods words? I agree with other versions of Gita which is also a part of the Truth. My whole book is about infinity of Gita and the underlying unity of all versions. Then where is dissent or the need for debate? Nevertheless, What I have told is debatable, because I am fallible.
TeamBR_Online: You have made a statement that there might be more than one sub-truth but there is only one truth. Would you please elaborate that for the readers?
Haribakth: Each version of Gita is sub truth. But the ONE truth is GOD/ Gita itself.
TeamBR_Online: In a chapter entitled Similes in Gita, you have mentioned that Krishna is the cowherd, Arjuna is the calf and Gita itself is the milk or essence while the Vedic scriptures are the cows. Would you please throw light on this section?
Haribakth: I have only quoted what the Great Guru Adi Shankaracharya said. It is called the Gita Dhyanam which is recited prior to reading or reciting the Gita.
The cowherd, shows the calf to the cow and allows the cow to suckle. The cow then, allows itself to be milked for the calf. After the calf, the milk is then given to us for our welfare. This is the analogy given in Gita Dhyanam where Arjuna is likened to the Calf.
TeamBR_Online: To most of the people, Gita does not belong to any particular religion. However, some people think this is only for Hindus and so people from other religions should not read it. What do you have to say about this?
Haribakth: This is a misconception not only among other religions but amongst our co-religionists.
I will reply this in two ways.
Presently existing modern religions didn’t exist 3000 years ago, meaning only Hinduism (by whatever name it is called) existed. Naturally all were Hindus only they broke away and called themselves by some other name. If they weren’t converts wouldn’t they have accepted the scripture?
If something good is found in Hinduism, like say yoga, does practising it thereof by other religionists reduce its benefit because they are non-Hindus?
It is already shown in my book that God is one. All scriptures say the same thing. Then the differences is in the way we view God or interpret the scriptures. If scriptures are interpreted correctly, you can see the unifying force of the scripture. How to interpret the scripture?
It is shown in my book that Gita is a Scripture.
It confers knowledge both theoretical and practical.
It also guides how to acquire that knowledge
It also acts as a benchmark so as to enable us to evaluate our understanding with correct understanding.
Gita is a book of generalisations and can be used as a guide for understanding their own scriptures with help of no 2, 3 & 4 above.
An example, God has asked Arjuna to fight. Now can I interpret it to mean that God has asked me to fight and I go on killing my enemies and kith and kin? Keeping aside me, even after the war concluded can Arjuna go on killing people saying that God ordered him to do so?
My book offers a template of how to understand/interpret Gita which can be applied practically to all scriptures. Everybody says that Gita is universal but have not taken pains to show how it is universal. This template is not my creation but told by God in Gita itself and has universal application. In light of the above, readers you may decide whether Gita is for Hindus or for all.
TeamBR_Online: This is a question rather related to your writings than the book itself. You could have written something else and could have made easy money. Why did you choose to work on such a topic, which unfortunately, finds lesser readers than a hastily written romantic fiction?
Haribakth: I have pursued the mammon for more than half my life. Let me now pursue Man Mohan.
Further, I don’t fancy myself as a writer. The urge to eulogise Lord, make His word ubiquitous and earn His endearment is more paramount for has He not said that “ One who shares This supreme secret philosophy amongst My devotees, Shall be performing the highest devotional service To Me and shall certainly attain Me.” (BG-18.68) & “No other person shall do A more pleasing service to me, and no one on shall be more dear to Me.” (BG 18-69) than write about something that doesn’t come to me naturally.
TeamBR_Online: To you, what’s the best way to study Gita? Should it be in some order or the best knowledge can be obtained randomly too?
Haribakth: I pass on the question over to God & He in His own Words ……….
सर्वधर्मान्परित्यज्य मामेकं शरणं व्रज |
अहं त्वां सर्वपापेभ्यो मोक्षयिष्यामि मा शुच: || 66||
sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śharaṇaṁ vraja
ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣhayiṣhyāmi mā śhuchaḥ
Abandon all varieties of dharmas and simply surrender unto me alone. I shall liberate you from all sinful reactions; do not fear.
The above verse is Complete Gita condensed in itself.
TeamBR_Online: Do you have plans for further books in near future? Would you also like to work upon other religious texts such as Ramayana & Vedas?
Haribakth: As a matter of exclusive devotion, I will not write a book on anything other than about Gita/Krishna or related to them. I plan to bring a sequel to this book. I also intend to write about Uma Maheshwara Samvada(Dialog between Lord Shankar & Mother Parvati about Gita. My pet and dear most dream is to bring a completely illustrated version of the Gita (Comics) which brings Gita within the reach of even children.
TeamBR_Online: What’s your message to the readers of your book?
Haribakth: My Message to my readers – I mimic My Masters Voice …………
Abandon all varieties of dharmas and simply surrender unto God alone. He shall liberate you from all sinful reactions; do not fear.
MY heart felt gratitude and thanks to all the readers and seek your continued patronage. I request you to pass on the book and spread God’s words world over. I request your review/comments/feedback on amazon site.
TeamBR_Online: Thanks for your time, dear Haribakth and all the best for your future endeavours.
Haribakth: Thanks to the team at BR_Online!