The Bhagavad Gita is a part of the epic Mahabharata and consists of 701 verses. It is a long conversation between one of the Pandavas- Arjuna and the Lord himself, Krishna. Krishna is the charioteer of Arjuna, and he not only guides him through the war in the battlefield of Kurekshetra, but also guides him in matters of his life, and his mission to establish good or evil. The entire Gita talks of the meaning of life and what must we do in life. The Gita transcends all boundaries and time lapses, and holds true even today.
Some people get vary when they hear about the Gita, saying that they don’t understand it and feel that it is meant only for ascetics. This is false. The Gita is for everyone. It opens the untapped potential in all of us and helps us recognize the infinite nature of our self. The Gita cannot be understood by a mere reading, but only by constant reflection and thinking of the universal truths enlisted in it. It is best understood when heard, or made understood by an enlightened Guru. However, the Guru can only guide you, like Krishna guided Arjuna; but the journey to self realization is only of the self.
The Gita first establishes that there exists a soul which is permanent and a body which is transient. Our soul travels through many deaths and rebirths and continues to move in this vicious circle, until the soul (Atman) meets God (Brahman). The Gita helps us bring closer to God himself, by using our Mind and Intellect. It must be understood here that God is not a being, a form, a spirit that one can see, touch, smell or hear. Those who claim to have done that are mistaken. God can only be felt; the feeling of our infinite nature is our realization of God.
The Gita reasserts the desirous nature of man, and how we must overcome it. Desire has brought down man time and again. Sita’s desire for the golden deer led to her abduction in the Ramayana, Duryodhan’s endless desire of power led to his awful downfall and eventually death. Desire captivates the mind, makes it unstable and forces it to act beyond the normal capability of man. The Gita doesn’t ask us renounce all desires and sit in meditation all at once, it asks us to gradually reduce them by developing the desire for liberation.
All our actions are largely selfish. If we learn, it is for the good marks; if we work hard, it is for appreciation. We are all bound in the endless self centered selfish actions of ours. Even if we go to the temple, it is to ask for something. If we give, we want something back (intentionally or unintentionally). The Gita asks for selfless action, one that is not governed by any want, any desire, and is done only for the unconditional love for the other. Such actions do not produce immediate joy or results or provide any material benefit, like all other selfish actions do. These provide benefit of another kind, one that relieves the mind, frees it of evil and cleanses the soul. We must not be attached with anything and work in a spirit of non expectation and selflessness.
The Gita doesn’t denounce desire, action, want and all other aspects of human nature. It only asserts that there should be no attachment to any of these. The moment one is attached to anything, it looses its independence and hence their infinite potential. Going to the temple, keeping fasts; pilgrimages etc. help inculcate discipline in a person and help in the cleansing of the soul. They however, don’t take us to the infinite. The final act of realization is Meditation, and it is then when we are analyzing our mind that we realize how silly we were to associate ourselves with something as small as the body, when we are so boundless and infinite.
An important question that Arjuna asked Krishna was that what if he had achieved a lot in the spiritual process, but was just not close enough to God, and had to depart from this world; Would then, he in his next birth, begin all over again? Could realization be achieved only in one life?
Krishna replied that achieving realization was like reading a book. Like you read through the pages of the book, you moved ahead spiritually. But if you feel asleep when the reading the book, it wouldn’t matter as when you would wake up again, you would continue from the last page. When faced with death, all spiritual knowledge gained by a person in his life is conserved, and in his next birth, circumstances would ensure that he doesn’t loose or forget what he has already earned. Our Karma plays an important role here. What we do in our present life, affects the life we have to go through. For every sin, we must pay in our next life and for every good deed, we must rejoice in heaven.
Whatever I have said is nothing new, it is perhaps less than what must be said. I have spoken nothing but the truth, and I can swear that on the Gita. If however, you were unable to comprehend it, do not get panicky; just do good in your life. For those who have, I encourage you to dwell in the Gita more; your mere interest will clear many obstacles in your way to realization.
The Gita is a science. A science of good living.
The Gita is a path. A path to self realization.
The Gita is a tool. A tool to become the infinite.
The Gita is a Song. A song of the Ultimate Truth.