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We all have Kurukshetras within us. The battle of Mahabharata is raging within us! Our ignorance (avidyaa) is King Dhritarashtra! The individual soul is Arjuna! The In-Dweller dwelling in our heart is Lord Krishna, the charioteer! The body is our chariot! The senses (indriyaas) are the horses. Our ego, pride, greed, hypocrisy, lust, jealousy, likes & dislikes, etc. are our dire enemies! The secret of the tremendous appeal of the Bhagavad Gita is in the fact that it deals with a practical problem of everyday life, namely, how can a person do his duty in this society with righteousness. The society is itself so filled with flaws that each of us wonders whether what we do is right or wrong. The Gita helps us to solve this riddle and teaches us the right way to lead life.
Gita formulates the theory of the three paths (margas), namely, Knowledge (GYaana), Devotion (bhakti) and action (karma) and combines the three philosophies wonderfully, thus teaching us that action, devotion and knowledge should work in perfect harmony! By abiding by one's duties of life(or svadharma), one can attain the Absolute (or moksha) and the Gita teaches each of us, what is our dharma and how to adhere to it. That is the reason why our scriptures prescribe Bhagavad Gita as one of the five scriptures that should be practiced on a daily basis:
is also hailed as brahma vidya (Knowledge of the Absolute) which is the
highest knowledge that a spiritual aspirant seeks. Bhagavad Gita is also
hailed as yoga shaastra since it deals with the practice of the highest
ideals in all walks of life. ( actually each of the chapters of the Gita
is named as a yoga - bhakti yoga, karma yoga, GYaana yoga, etc.).
A true aspirant is expected to possess the qualifications
of viveka (discrimination between good & bad), vairagya (dispassion),
sama (control of mind), dama (control of senses), uprati (not influenced
by worldly attractions). Srimad Bhagavad Gita teaches us the theory and
values of these qualifications and as a yoga shaastra, teaches us the
way to practice them in our path towards God-Realization. The Bhagavad
Gita brings the greatest wisdom to human life. Some people feel that Gita
should not be taught to children and if youngsters read it then they will
become sannyaasis. This is not so. The Gita has not asked us to renounce
all activities and become a sannyaasi. Even Arjuna, who directly heard
it from the Lord himself never became a sannyaasi. The purpose of the
Gita is to teach the truths of the vedaas to us in such a way that we
can practice it.
we you go to a market and buy some fruits, it might be dirty, covered
with dust and mud. It may be lying out in the open. But we take the same
fruits and wash them and then offer them in a temple or place them in
an altar. When the priest gives it to us after offering to the Lord, the
same fruits are accepted by us as Prashad. So what was just an ordinary
fruit becomes sacred just by offering it to God. Similarly all our actions
will become noble when we offer it to God.
When a mother takes care of her child, she does not consider it as work. When we do something which is a hobby, even though it might involve lot of efforts, we do not consider it as work and we enjoy doing it. Similarly, we should enjoy each and every action that we do and perform it as an offering to God. When we perform actions without any self interest then it become yoga and what was work, becomes worship. This is one of the most important messages of the Bhagavad Gita.
We need to approach life with the right attitude. The world will appear to us only as we see it. The saint Ramdas wrote Ramayana and he used to read it to his students, as he wrote it. Unknown to anyone, Hanuman also used to sit among the students and listen to him. One day the saint was describing that Hanuman approached the Ashoka vana and saw the white flowers there". Hanuman appeared suddenly and said, "I did not see any white flowers, I saw red flowers" and he asked the saint to correct it. The saint Ramdas insisted that he had written rightly and they took the disagreement to Shri Raama so that he could say who was right. "Shrii Rama said that the flowers were indeed white, but since Hanuman’s eyes were red with anger they appeared red to him." The world too appears to us as we see it. If we think that there is distrust and hatred in others then that is what we will see. If we show love and compassion for all beings and see friendliness every where, we will be happy. We need to cultivate the capacity to see God in all beings and then our attitude to every one will be good and our actions will be selfless.
Once a man went to a Zen master. He told him "Teach me the Zen philosophy". The master did not say anything. Instead he offered him tea. He gave him a cup and started pouring tea. Even after the cup got filled the master kept pouring it and the tea was spilling all over the place. The man said, "Master, the cup is full, How come you are trying to pour tea inside it?". The master said, "Just like the cup, your mind is full of unwanted thoughts. First empty that and come and then I shall teach you philosophy".
Similarly, our mind is filled with unwanted thoughts. There are all kinds of desires for various objects, hatred, anger, jealousy, greed etc. If you repeat the word gita gita then it sounds like tagi tagi. Tyaaga means giving up. The Gita teaches us to give up all our lower qualities like desire, anger, hatred, jealousy etc. When a farmer wants to plow his field, he needs to first remove all the weeds and put good soil in the field. Only then the seeds can be planted. Similarly we need to take out the weeds of all the bad qualities. We are the best judges of what our negative qualities are. It is not possible to say that we can get rid of all the bad qualities overnight. We should make up our mind that we want to do this weeding process and try and remove these qualities one by one.
All of you might have heard the story of Gajendra. The elephant Gajendra was thirsty and wanted to drink water from a river. It knew that the crocodile was in the river, but it thought that it was stronger and hence would not be pulled by the crocodile. Even as it started drinking the water, the crocodile caught hold of it and would not let it go and the elephant tried to use its might and pull itself away. After some time, when the pain was unbearable, it turned to the Lord and screamed for help and the Lord also saved it.
We are all like the elephant and we are so filled by our arrogance and ego that we think, everything is under our control in this world. The desire for all objects in this world is like the thirst of the elephant and we go towards all the worldly objects, thinking that this crocodile will not be able to catch hold of us. But when we start getting attached to our possessions, they pull us more and more and cause us immeasurable pain. We are pained because we want to possess all the things that we cannot have. We are in pain because we are afraid that somebody might take it away from us. We are in pain when they are finally taken away from us. So this crocodile of attachment to our possessions, that has kept us in its hold, causes us so much pain before and during the time we possess an object and even after it is taken away. To get rid of this crocodile, we need to turn ourselves to God and seek His divine help.
The Lord says:
Abandoning dependence on all dharmas -right &
wrong - take refuge in Me alone ; I will liberate you from all sins; do
not grieve. In this Sloka the Lord says that we should surrender all our
actions as well as ourselves to him completely and he will take care of
us. So when we have total faith in the Lord, then we will have no fears,
worries or doubts in our actions and we can have mental peace.
Wherever is Krishna, the Lord of Yoga & wherever is Arjuna, the supreme archer (the true & determined aspirant), there are prosperity, victory, glory and righteousness. This Sloka is said by sanjaya to dhritarashtra and is an answer to Dhritarahstra’a question about the war. Sanjaya says indirectly that there is no doubt that the pandavas will win the war.