Gandhi's interpretation of Gita
Posted on October 3, 2014
This is the secret of modern fashionable interpretation. If you want to establish... Suppose you have got some conviction, and if you want to
establish it by evidence of an approved literature.
Just like Gandhi. Gandhi wanted to establish nonviolence from Bhagavad-gita. He is known to be a great student of Bhagavad-gita, but he was not at all. His political theory was that he wanted to conquer over the enemies by nonviolence method. Nonviolent noncooperation, that was his theory. He wanted to get away all kinds of violence from the world. So he wanted to prove from Bhagavad-gita nonviolence. But how you can prove nonviolence from Bhagavad-gita? Because Bhagavad-gita is being spoken in the violent battlefield.
But because he wanted to prove nonviolence, therefore he says, "Oh, these Pandavas means this. This Krsna means this. This chariot means this. These Kurus means this. Dharmaksetra means this. Kuruksetra means this." He has invented and manufactured so many rascal meaning that it is very difficult...
He said that dharmaksetre... In the beginning of Bhagavad-gita there is the verse, dharmaksetre kuruksetre samaveta yuyutsavah [Bg. 1.1]. Now the very word yuyutsavah means persons who are desiring to fight with one another. Now, how you can prove nonviolence? But he extracts some meaning: "These Pandava means five senses and the Kuruksetra means this body." In this way, his interpretation.
Therefore, all different interpretation... The Vedic literature, either take Bhagavata or Srimad Bhagavad-gita, or any Upanisad, the meaning is very clear. It is sheer foolishness to understand that "The meaning is vague, now I am clearing. I am a great scholar. I can interpret in a different way." As if Vyasadeva left the meaning to be cleared by some rascal. He was not himself competent to clear the meaning, but he left the work to be done by some rascal. That is their interpretation.
But actually it is not. In every sloka, if you know Sanskrit, you'll see the meaning is clear. Just like in the Bhagavad-gita, dharmaksetre kuruksetre samaveta yuyutsavah [Bg. 1.1]. There was actual some fight between the two cousin groups, and they fought at the battlefield of Kuruksetra. That Kuruksetra is still existing. There is a railway station, Kuruksetra. It is about 150 miles from Delhi. And people go there for pilgrimage. Therefore it is dharmaksetra, a place of religious rites. And in one of the Vedas it is written that kuruksetre dharma yajayet. If anyone wants to perform religious rites, he should go to Kuruksetra and perform there. It will have better effect. This is the indication in the Vedic literatures. Therefore Kuruksetra is still accepted.
Those who travel, wander in pilgrimages, they go to Kuruksetra still. The system is going on. If there is a lunar eclipse, they go to Kuruksetra to make some charities. So Kuruksetra is accepted from the very, very long period in the Vedic age as the place of pilgrimage. So it is stated there, dharmaksetra. How can I interpret that this Kuruksetra means this body? In which dictionary he finds this meaning? But people are so foolish, because Mahatma Gandhi has interpreted, "Oh, it is right." So this is going on. So, yei grantha-karta cahe sva-mata... If anyone wants to establish his own foolish theory, he takes advantage of popular book and tries to explain in his own way.
(From Srila Prabhupada's lecture on Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 25.40-50 -- San Francisco, January 24, 1967)
(October 2nd is celebrated as "Gandhi Jayanti" in India)