These are two of my favorite verses from the gita. I’ve dug them from the first day I heard them. And then Yoda goes and says something similar in one of the Star Wars prequels. I doubt that Lucas was reading the Gita (if he were, maybe the movies would have been better – or, better yet, not made at all), but these are universal truths, so he probably just got lucky.
Chapter 2, Verses 62 & 63
While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person develops attachment for them, and from such attachment lust develops, and from lust anger arises.
From anger, delusion arises, and from delusion bewilderment of memory. When memory is bewildered, intelligence is lost, and when intelligence is lost, one falls down again into the material pool.
When one contemplates the sense objects, attachment for them is born. From attachment, desire is born; from desire, frustration; and from frustration, delusion. When one is deluded, memory is lost; with the loss of memory, the power of discrimination is destroyed; with the destruction of discrimination, one’s own self is lost.
By meditating on the objects of the senses, one develops attachment. Attachment gives rise to desire, which in turn leads to anger.
Anger gives rise to delusion, and from delusion comes loss of memory, forgetting the instructions of sastra. Loss of memory destroys intelligence, and when the intelligence is destroyed, everything is lost and one again falls down into the material pool.
For a person dwelling on the objects of the senses, attachment to them develops; From attachment, selfish desire develops; from desire, anger develops. From anger comes bewilderment; from bewilderment, disturbed memory; From disturbed memory, loss of discernment; from loss of discernment one becomes lost. -Garuda dasa
Just a quick note, the Tripurari Swami version combines both verses into one. All of the others keep them separate. One thing that I will point out is that Prabhupada’s original Gita feels like it’s lacking some commas and semicolons. I particularly like how Tripurari Swami punctuated these verses. I’m very used to the MLA style manual. I don’t think that was around in the 60′s. If it was, it definitely has changed since then.
Incidentally, the revised version of Prabhupada’s Gita adds a semicolon, but other than that, is punctuated similarly. The other difference is that it cuts a pronoun (“them”) and replaces it with “sense objects” (which come right after the new semicolon). I’m not going to get into any sort of analysis between the original and changed versions of Prabhupada’s Gita. There are many other websites that do that. I’m simply presenting four different translations.
So my thoughts on this? The thing that sticks out most for me is Narayana Maharaja’s inclusion of the phrase “forgetting the instructions of sastra.” While certainly true, there’s no mention of that, even in his word for word translation. Also, Tripurari Swami translates the sanskrit word “buddhi” as “discrimination.” Prabhupada and Narayana Maharaja both translate it as “intelligence.” Garuda dasa calls it “discernment,” which is sort of a compromise between “intelligence” and “discrimination.”
I’ve seen other Gitas translate “buddhi” as “wisdom.” There are subtle differences between these definitions, but the point remains the same: when memory is lost or bewildered, discrimination and intelligence and wisdom are lost. That bit has always troubled me since I have a VERY bad memory. But this memory loss (or bewilderment) comes from anger.
However, in this case, Narayana Maharaja’s Gita has amazingly excellent purports to explain this memory loss thing. Tripurari Swami’s purport very much mirrors Narayana Maharaja’s, but is well worth reading too. Prabhupada’s purport seems to take a more general approach to this verse and he doesn’t touch on anger. But reading it after reading the other two, you get a greater understanding of what it is to remember in Krishna consciousness. And that’s really the important thing here.
I didn’t want to get into the purports, but there I go!
And now I go off to bed!