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Bhagavad Gita – The path through difficult times

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Bhagavad Gita - The path through difficult times

By: M.R. Lalu
Gita Jayanti is one of the most important festivals to those who admire the great spiritual essence of the Bhagavad Gita. It is an occasion, a reminder on the importance of the holy text in a world that sinks in the perils of Adharma on a daily basis. This year the Gita Jayanti was commemorated on 22 December. The Bhagavad Gita is believed to have been revealed by Lord Krishna to a confused Arjuna in the battle of Kurukshetra. The Gita discourse is known as the nectar, the essence of all life giving teachings that are available on planet earth. Unsurprisingly, its importance is growing extensively and a large number of people from across the world come in touch with it and studies take place on its values and importance. The significance of its messages delves deeper into the complexities of human life and more students irrespective of their social collaborations prefer to read it considering its invaluable guiding spirit.
The intellectual exuberance and spiritual solace that a person receives from it is deeper than the study of any other literature. This is chiefly because the Gita refers to everything that concerns human life and offers ample solutions through hundreds of its verses. Before we delve into the assertions of the holy book, it is essential for the seeker to know the background of this divine discourse. To understand Gita, a sincere spiritual preparedness is required. A driving curiosity or call it an irresistible intellectual necessity. Warrior prince Arjuna came across a situation that ultimately propelled this curiosity to happen in him. The questions that he raised to Lord Krishna were genuine and the answers at some point kept intensifying his predicament. But Lord Krishna, with his meticulous diplomatic approach, decided to help the man of the battle, who people thought would bring victory in order to restore Dharma. But his collapse was irreversible and the effect of such chicken-heartedness was going to be disheartening.  A string of intellectual discourses between Arjuna and Lord Krishna finally took place, leading the conversation to ultimately spin through the complexities of life one by one and their solutions literally gaining all time relevance.
The dilemma, the perspiration that Arjuna faced was thoroughly examined by Lord Krishna and thus it is believed that the Bhagavad Gita came into being. Now, the predicament of Arjuna is invariably a situation that each one of us would pass through. To understand the principle that the Gita offers or to essentially trickle the meaning of it into our minds, we need to be driven by the same inquisitiveness, an urge to know life here and beyond and the factors that bind its effect and wellbeing. This acts as the propeller and to satisfy this requirement is the most important thing. This curiosity is the passkey, the channel through which the knowledge of life enters and the Bhagavad Gita offers a practical lesson, the lesson of karma. To simply put, Lord Krishna says, it is impossible to avoid Karma; the effect of our Karmas is bound to come. Whatever the nature of Karma that we perform, its result is bound to be generated. So the ultimate view is that it is unnecessary to keep worrying about the result. What matters is the depth of attention with which the Karma is performed. The Gita tells us to keep our mind fresh, pure and strong. Lord Krishna frequently reminds a heartbroken Arjuna in the battlefield to perceive this reality, that every human situation is bound to bring a challenge. But to train the mind to become freer, purer and nobler is the ultimate task and this needs attention.
The Bhagavad Gita’s impact was profound.  Deeply destroying common but insensible notions, it is wisdom manifest in diverse forms with excellent applicability for diverse situations.  India’s independence struggle tells us a volume of stories of valor and sacrifice. Many of our freedom fighters were greatly influenced by the ideals of the Bhagavad Gita. In 1905, as the Swadeshi Movement started in Bengal, thousands of people took to streets in protest against colonial oppression and the philosophy that inspired them was the Bhagavad Gita. It is reported that each one of them had a copy of the holy text as they vowed to boycott the British goods. Mahatma Gandhi confesses in his autobiography that he had never come across the glory of the Gita as he could not read it either in Sanskrit or Gujarati. This was when he was approached by his theosophist friends thinking that Gandhi being an Indian must have had a deep knowledge in the spiritual text of the Hindus. He landed on the philosophical terrain that the Gita offers through Edwin Arnold’s masterpiece translation of the Bhagavad Gita ‘The Song Celestial’. This was the book his theosophist friends brought to him for better understanding and learning. Gandhi had tremendously been influenced by the Gita later on and his life was mostly a testimony of his deeper understanding of the Dharmic values that the Gita inculcates. Gandhi’s deep impression on the Gita was mostly about its practicability. The Mahatma believed that the Gita was as much accessible to a common man as to a knowledgeable person. The Bhagavad Gita was recognized as a perennial philosophy that deals with the essential life pattern of a man guiding him on the ultimate purpose of his existence.
The spiritual depth that the Gita offers was well understood by Indians as well as people in the west. The British advent in India helped this great spiritual work to get translated in foreign languages. It became popular in the west mainly after it was first translated to English in 1785 by Charles Wilkins under the patronage of Governor-General Warren Hastings. In 1823 it got translated into German. These western translations and interpretations of the Gita discourse made the text globally popular. At present, translations of the Gita are available in almost all main global languages. In India, the Gita Press printed and published it in millions and the book is widely circulated. The Bhagavad Gita has been gaining more diplomatic acceptance since 2014. Narendra Modi frequently chooses the Bhagavad Gita to be a perfect gift to his foreign counterparts. This is mainly due to his spiritual inclination and belief in the life-giving messages of the Gita. J Robert Oppenheimer, American Physicist, learned Sanskrit in 1933 and read the Bhagavad Gita in the original form. While witnessing the explosion of the Trinity Nuclear Test, Oppenheimer says, he thought of a verse from the Bhagavad Gita that described the glory of the Lord, the verse that Sanjay narrated to the blind king Dhritarashtra. While translating his divine vision on the effulgence of the universal form of the Lord to the old king, Sanjay tells that the splendor of the divine light of the Lord was more powerful and brighter than the light of a thousand suns blazing forth in the sky together. The Gita’s unequivocal expression on the greatness of human life needs to go deeper into our conscience. The world needs a philosophy that it can believe and lean on and the Gita offers all essential values we need.
(The author is a Freelance Journalist)

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