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Dante’s journey and Bhagavad-Gita

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Edited by Manola Farabollini

Friday, 29 January at Santa Maria della Scala in Siena, artistic pole of the city and privileged reference for the European culture, Marco Ferrini hosted an event on the subject: “Dante’s journey and Bhagavad-Gita. Psychological experience of Inferno, Purgatory and Paradise for the Contemporary Man.” The dialogue between earth and sky, Ferrini explained, is one of the central themes in both Bhagavad-Gita and the Commedia. “These two great works dialogue with each other in an extraordinary way.

They both describe the cowardice and the longing of the individual in relation to the highest ideality. The spiritual message that is transmitted overpasses the limits of the paradigm of space and time.

 

Geographical distances and millenniums disappear when we see that the journey of the protagonists of both works, Dante and Arjuna, find the same stages. They both must face inquietudes and hard trials to overcome their own limits. Even if they live in extremely different cultural, social and political contexts, both Dante and Arjuna begin their journey from a dark forest, which is their anguishing confusing and lost state.

They both find the way that leads them to see the light of the soul all the way to the realization of the Divine Immortal Love which is Bhakti, in the Hindu-Vedic tradition and “the Love which moves the sun and the other stars” in the Divine Comedy . After a social-historical and political contextualization of both works Ferrini read parts of the Divine Comedy and Bhagavad-Gita and commented and revealed surprising coincidences. At some points, the teachings seem to overlap in their universality.

Even today they offer a great reference to the Oriental and Western men who wish to undertake the journey toward their inner enlightenment and happiness. A journey to realization in this life, this world, here and now, in comparison with their true society. Virgilio leads Dante through this evolutionary journey all the way to Beatrice who represents the soul of the poet and in Bhagavad-Gita he is led by Krishna, the Divine Manifestation that offers to his devotee eyes capable to see reality instead of appearance, with the purpose of realizing the highest spiritual essence.

“Each of us can live here and now in a state of consciousness typical of Inferno, Purgatory or Paradise. To exit the Inferno, Dante had to change his point of view, detach himself from egoistical identification, see people dear to him in Inferno, look directly at human defects, identify in those infernal people that he meets what upsets him or stops his evolution in ascending the beautiful hill. As long as we blame others for our suffering we cannot leave Inferno. Only if we take responsibility for our errors and do our best to correct them we can return to gaze at the stars and hoist the sails of the sheep of our intelligence. The beasts that block Dante and Arjuna's paths are the same ones: the wild beast with variegated skin that represents cupidity (kama), the lion which represents rage (Krodha) and greed (lobha), portrayed by the wolf which after eating it is more hungry than before. In both works the protagonists are encouraged so that the one who immerges oneself in the reading of these great works could penetrate their essence.”

Love, Ferrini concluded, is the peak of the teachings of Bhagavad-Gita and the Divine Comedy. It is a not merely human Love, it doesn’t coincide with sentimentalism, it is not of exclusive nature, but lived with universal modality which is expressed toward every creature. A kind of Love that doesn’t need expectations or compensation but it is sufficient to itself. In its purity it finds strength and total gratification. This Love allows us to enter that meta-space of the heart where man meets with God and where we can find all of the beauty, richness, knowledge and immortality that each of us is pursuing.”

For the 200 or more people who participated and for all of those that would like to participate there will be an opportunity to continue to explore the charming dialog between the Divine Comedy and Bhagavad-Gita and other lectures on this subject will be scheduled. You may find additional information on the following website www.centrostudibhaktivedanta.org.


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