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Friday, December 8, 2023

Rediscover Dharma: some everyday lessons from Bhagavad Gita

The Bhagavad Gita has a very special place among Hindu Granthas. Unlike all other religions, Hindu Dharma doesn’t have a single text guiding its followers. There are a number of Granthas and individuals can choose those that they feel comfortable with, depending on their level of spiritual enhancement.

Bhagavad Gita translates to the song of Bhagwan. In a way, we can consider it as the starting point of spiritual enhancement. In other words, it is the first step in the rung of ladders that leads to the ultimate truth, Parabrahma. The Gita embodies the essence of Vedic literature and is therefore a good text for beginners. The day Bhagwan Krishna instructed Arjuna is celebrated as Gita Jayanti.

There are several references in the Gita itself which will give us an idea of its history. Bhagwan Krishna says in the fourth chapter that He first passed on this knowledge to the Sun deity Vivasvan who then passed it on to Manu. These were the first two transmissions that are estimated to have occurred more than 12 crores years ago. Manu then passed on the knowledge of the Bhagavad Gita to Maharaja Ikshvaku who ruled the planet during the Treta Yuga.

This transfer took place around 20 lakh years ago and hence human society knew about Bhagavad Gita since that time. However, over a period of time, the spoken knowledge of the Gita appeared obscure and hence Lord Krishna decided to pass it on to mankind by teaching it to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. This event took place roughly a little more than 5000 years ago.

The Bhagavad Gita is timeless and the instructions therein can be used even today. Here are a few lessons we can apply to our daily lives.

1) The most famous quote from the Gita is undoubtedly

“कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन। मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोऽस्त्वकर्मणि॥ २-४७” (Chapter 2, verse 47)

In this verse, the Bhagwan asks his devotees to continue doing their Karma (duty) without expectations. We must do our duty without fear or favour and not in the hope of getting something in return.

2) Life is always a set of dualities and we need to accept both with equanimity. Nothing is permanent; hence neither sorrow nor happiness will last forever. If we understand that everything in life is cyclical then it will be easier for us to tide over difficult times and stay grounded during successful times.

3) It is important to move ahead with time. People and circumstances keep changing as time passes by and in order to survive we need to constantly reinvent ourselves.

4) Controlling the mind, although the most difficult, is of utmost importance. A still mind can think and work better. When we control our minds we also control our desires thereby bringing peace to ourselves.

5) It shows the true path to happiness which is by controlling our emotions, desires, greed and anger. When we gain control of our senses, we wouldn’t fall into the trap of Maya or illusion.

These are but a few drops of gems from the vast ocean that the Bhagavad Gita is. It has instructions for leading our daily life more meaningfully. Bhagwan Krishna himself asserts that one need not give up everything and become a Sanyasi to attain Moksha.

In fact, doing one’s duty is the highest form of devotion and the person who does his/her duty truthfully and with complete dedication is dear to Bhagwan. This occasion of Gita Jayanti would be a great time to begin our journey into the world of Bhagavad Gita, which would undoubtedly reduce our stress and bring us much-needed peace of mind.  

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A opinionated girl-next-door with an attitude. I'm certainly not afraid to call myself 'a proud Hindu' and am positively politically incorrect. A Bharatiya at heart who loves reading, music, sports and nature. Travelling and writing are my passions.


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