Neither ritual, nor doctrine, but love affair (Gita Daily)

Published on Mar 24, 2014

Based on Bhagavad Gita Chapter 18, Text 66

The Bhagavad-gita (18.66) concludes with the radical call to abandon all dharmas and just surrender to Krishna alone.

What is the rationale for this radical call?

To grasp the rationale, let’s first understand what the word dharmas may refer to in this context. The Vedic tradition outlines three broad paths: the path of ritual religiosity (karma-kanda), the path of doctrinal speculation (jnana-kanda) and the path of worship (upasana-kanda) that culminates in pure devotion to Krishna (bhakti). All these paths comprise various dharmas.

The Gita asks us to abandon all other paths for the sake of the path of devotion. Thus, it implies that we reject rituals and doctrines, and make our life into a love affair with Krishna.

We may wonder: “But the path of devotion also has its rituals and doctrines. Are they to be abandoned?”

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