Week 1 Sanga
Sanga 1: Equal Vision (Sama Darshana)
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The Gita's idea of equal vision speaks of equality among all living beings, where life is recognized and respected regardless of race, gender, caste, creed, or species. The energy of life that animates material bodies is regarded as a separate non-material energy, a spiritual energy. Thus Krishna says that the wise see a saint, a laborer, a dog and elephant with equal vision, and understand how to be fair and impartial to each.
The Gita's worldview of sama darshana has profound implications for how we behave in every aspect of our lives. It challenges our identity, our relationship with others and our environment. It questions our material ideas, and promotes spiritual conclusions. In all our relationships it expects inclusion, thoughtfulness, and balance. It is marked by forgiveness, concern, and appreciation. It does not depend on human dignity as its common denominator, but on the dignity of all life. It is not sectarian, gender biased, or speciesist. It forms the basis of Bhakti, a loving relationship with the Supreme.
Personal Discussion Questions-
- What can we do to stop labeling others? What can we do to stop labeling ourselves? What are the labels that you identify yourself with?
Philosophical Discussion Questions:
- What does equality mean? If I am equal to you - that’s great, but how can I act upon that principle of equality. It seems like in this world, there is always someone who wins and other losses - so how can I always see with equal vision?
- Does this principle require a spiritual philosophy, or can it stand on it’s own? Is it our ‘right’ to be treated equally? Is Sama-darshana meant to be a human right? Is it alright if you aren’t treated equally for you to react in a way that is inequal too?
- On a practical level - how do we do this? What does our world look like with equal-vision? What could we change right now? Does this also affect how we see ourselves - sometimes we treat ourselves as less than others, leading to an imbalance in our lives.
- Does Krishna see all of us with Sama-darshana? Does God actually not play favorites to some people (it sure seems like he does sometimes)?