Bhagwad Gita

Man is a composite of three fundamental factors, namely cognition, feeling and will. There are three kinds of temperaments- the active, the emotional and the rational. Even so, there are three Yogas- Jnana Yoga for the man of enquiry and rational temperament, Bhakti Yoga for the emotional temperament, and Karma Yoga for a person of action. One Yoga is as efficacious as the other is.

The Bhagwad Gita formulates the theories of the three paths, without creating any conflict among them. It harmonizes most wonderfully the philosophy of action, devotion and knowledge. All three must be harmoniously blended if you wish to attain perfection. You should have the head of Sri Sankara (intellectual, rational), the heart of Lord Buddha and the hand of King Janaka. The three horses of this body-chariot namely action, emotion and intellect, should work in perfect harmony. Only then will it move smoothly and reach the destination safely and quickly. Only then can you rejoice in the Self, sing the song of Soham, be in tune with the Infinite, hear the soundless voice of the Soul and enjoy the sweet music of the Soul.

The central teaching of the Gita is the attainment of the final beatitude of life-perfection or freedom. This may be achieved by doing oneís prescribed duties of life. The Lord says to Arjuna:

"Therefore, without attachment, constantly perform action which is duty, for, by performing action without attachment, man verily reaches the supreme."

The Gita is divided into three sections, illustrative of the three terms of the Mahavakya (great sayings) of the Sama Veda- TAT TWAM ASI (That Thou Art). In accordance with this view, the first six discourses deal with the path of action or Karma Yoga, that is the nature of "Thou." This is called the Twam-pada. The next six discourses explain the path of devotion, the nature of "That." This is called the Tat-pada. The last six discourses treat of the path of knowledge, the nature of the middle term "Art." So it is called the Asi-pada, which establishes the identity of the individual soul with the Supreme Soul.

The eighteen discourses are not woven in a discordant manner. Each one is intimately or vitally connected with its precedent.

Essence of the Gita

The Gita again and again emphasizes that one should cultivate an attitude of non-attachment or detachment. It urges repeatedly that one should live in the world like water on a lotus leaf. "He who does actions, offering them to Brahman and abandoning attachment, is not tainted by sin as a lotus leaf by water." - Gita, 5-10.

Attachment is due to infatuation. It is the offspring of the quality of Rajas. Detachment is born of Sattwa. The former is a demoniacal attribute; the latter is divine one. Attachment is born of ignorance, selfishness and passion, and brings with it death; detachment is wisdom, and brings with it freedom. The practice of detachment is a rigorous discipline. You may stumble like a baby who is just learning to walk, but you will have to rise up again with a cheerful heart. Failures are not stumbling blocks but stepping-stones to success.

Try to dwell always in your own Self. Abide in your centre. Think of the Self constantly. Then all attachments will die automatically. Attachment to God is a potent antidote to annihilate all worldly attachments. He who has no attachments can really love others, for his love is pure and divine. "Therefore, without attachment do thou always perform action which should be done; for, by performing action without attachment man reaches the Supreme." - Gita, 3-19.

Discourses 13, 14 and 15 deal with Jnana Yoga (Yoga of knowledge). He who has knowledge of nature and of God, of the three qualities or Gunas and their operation, and of the wonderful tree of Maya, can transcend nature and the Gunas, can uproot the deep-rooted tree with the axe of dispassion, and attain direct Self-realization, which releases him from the rounds of births and deaths.

Discourse 15 is a very soul-elevating one. It contains the essence of Vedanta. He who rightly understands this discourse will soon attain liberation.

Discourse 18 also must be studied again and again. It contains the quintessence of the whole Gita teaching. It is the pinnacle of the magnificent hill of knowledge of the Gita. It is the crowning jewel in its priceless necklace, and in it is condensed the substance of the teachings of the preceding seventeen discourses.

The Gita is the cream of the Vedas. It is the essence of the soul-elevating Upanishads. It is a universal scripture applicable to people of all temperaments and for all times. It is a wonderful book with sublime thoughts and practical instructions on Yoga, Devotion, Vedanta and Action. It is a marvellous book, profound in thought and sublime in heights of vision. It brings peace and solace to souls that are afflicted by the three fires of mortal existence, namely, afflictions caused by oneís own body (disease etc), those caused by beings around one (e.g. wild animals, snakes etc.), and those caused by the gods (natural disasters, earth-quakes, floods etc).

The Srimad Bhagwad Gita is a dialogue between Lord Krishna and Arjuna (the Supreme Soul and the individual soul). It is narrated in the Bhishma Parva of the Mahabharata. It comprises 18 discourses of a total of 701 Sanskrit verses (Shlokas). A considerable volume of material has been compressed within these verses.

The Bhagavad Gita is a unique book for all ages. It is one of the most authoritative books of the Hindu religion. It is the immortal song of the Soul, which bespeaks of the glory of life. The instructions given by Lord Krishna are for the whole world. It is a standard book on Yoga for all mankind. The language is as simple as could be. Even a man who has an elementary knowledge of Sanskrit (language) can go through the book.

The teachings of the Gita are broad, universal and sublime. They do not belong to any cult, sect, creed, age or country. They are meant for the people of the whole world. Based on the Upanishads- the ancient wisdom of the Seers (Rishis) and saints- the Gita prescribes methods that are within the reach of all. It has message of solace, peace, freedom. Salvation and perfection for all human beings.

On the battlefield of Kurukshetra, Lord Krishna, during the course of His most instructive and interesting talk with Arjuna, revealed profound, sublime and soul-stirring spiritual truths, and expounded to him the rare secrets of Yoga, Vedanta, Bhakti (Devotion) and Karma (Action). The whole world is one huge battlefield. The real Kurukshetra is within you. The battle of the Mahabharata is raging within. Ignorance is Dhritarashtra; the individual soul is Arjuna; the indweller of your heart is Lord Krishna, the charioteer; the body is the chariot; the senses are the five horses; mind, egoism, mental impressions, senses, cravings, likes and dislikes, lust, jealousy, greed, pride and hypocrisy are your dire enemies.

Glory, glory to the Gita! Glory to Lord Krishna, who placed the Gita before men of this world to attain liberation! May His blessings be upon you all! May the Gita be your centre, ideal and goal!

Blessed is the man who studies the Gita daily. Twice blessed is he who lives in the spirit of the Gita. Thrice blessed is he who has realized the knowledge of the Gita or attained Self-knowledge! Om Tat Sat. Om Shanit, Shanti, Shanti. (Peace).