Invoking the blessings of Sri Swami Desikan and Shri Krishna, I embark on this journey of gaining a deeper understanding of this great source of knowledge for the human kind – “Srimad Bhagavad Gita”!
As I began with this introduction, a friend came in to deliver me “Prasadam (Laddoo)” from Tirupati, signifying a divine blessing to begin this journey! With that, I begin my quest for gaining a deeper meaning of the purpose of our life.
The word “Gita” means song and Bhagavad Gita means the God’s song. The Bhagavad Gita is a spiritual text composed by Maharishi Veda Vyasa as revealed to him by Shri Krishna, It comprises of a 700-verses and forms part of the great epic ‘Mahabharata’.
Gita is a quintessential part of the Prasthana Trayam, the holy books of Sanatana Dharma,. Prasthana trayam, literally, three sources (or axioms), or texts of Hindu philosophy, especially of the Vedanta schools:
- The Upanishads, known as Upadesha prasthana (injunctive texts), and the Shruti Prasthana (the starting point or axiom of revelation), especially the Principal Upanishads.
- The Brahma Sutras, known as Nyaya Prasthana or Yukti Prasthana (logical text or axiom of logic)
- The Bhagavad Gita, known as Sadhana Prasthana (practical text), and the Smriti Prasthana (the starting point or axiom of remembered tradition)
Srimad Bhagavad Gita speaks about “the way of living, the nature of things and provides many paths to attain self-realisation.” It speaks about humanity, Reality and our place in that Reality, as well as the actions we are to take to find inner peace. It emphasizes the various forms of Yogas — ways in which humans can deal with the challenges of the ever-changing world and the constant vacillation of emotions of the mind. It deals with the path to wisdom and the relationship of self (Atma) with that of the ultimate Reality (ParamAtma).
The essence of the Gita is that it establishes a person’s right to question every aspect of life. Sanatana Dharma (ancient wisdom) thrives on “tarka” or debate to explore and find “truth”. There are many paths that lead to the Absolute truth and each path, followed with utmost faith and devotion, leads to Self-realisation and Salvation.
The Bhagavad Gita is set as a dialogue between a human, namely, Arjuna, and the God Reality, Shri Krishna. The dialogue between the two establishes the principle to question life and gain a true understanding. Shri Krishna answers Arjuna’s many questions that clarify the confusions and doubts clouding Arjuna’s mind.
The core principles of Srimad Bhagavad Gita are:
- The consciousness that exists in the macrocosm and the consciousness that exists in each one of us is one and the same. If one understand what upholds one’s being, one can understand the consciousness that sustains and upholds the Cosmos.
- Everything is composed of matter (that which forms matter) called “Prakriti”, and Spirit or Consciousness called “Purusha”.
- The life on Earth has only one purpose – to know the spiritual foundation that sustains and upholds the cosmos and all that is there.
- Humans are capable of this self-realisation, which is knowing the Absolute.
The knowledge found within the Bhagavad-Gita is incomparable as it gives specific information regarding the purpose of human existence, the immortality of the soul and our eternal relationship with God. This information applies to each and every one of us without exception. Without realization of our divine relationship with the God it is impossible to establish our eternal relationship with Him.
There are three paths which lead directly to establishing a relationship with God. According to the Bhagavad-Gita these paths have been designated as the yoga of perfect actions, the yoga of perfect devotion and the yoga of perfect knowledge. These three paths have been fully explained in the Bhagavad-Gita, within chapter 23 to 40 in the Bhishma-Parva of Mahabharata.
The Bhagavad-Gita consists of 18 chapters and each chapter is called a Yoga. Yoga is the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the Ultimate Consciousness. So each chapter is a specialized yoga revealing the path of attaining realization of the Ultimate Truth.
The first six chapters have been classified as the Karma Yoga section as they deal with the realisation of the Ultimate Consciousness through actions.
The middle six chapters are known as the Bhakti Yoga as they principally pertain to the path of devotion to attain communion with the Ultimate Consciousness.
The final six chapters are regarded as the Jnana Yoga as they explain the science of the attaining communion with the Ultimate Consciousness through the intellect.
Aum ajnana-timirandhasya jnananjana-salakaya |
caksur unmilitam yena tasmai sri-gurave namah ||
Meaning: I was born in the darkest ignorance, and my spiritual master opened my eyes with the torch of knowledge. I offer my respectful obeisances unto him.
जय श्री कृष्णा – Jai Shri Krishna!
Hari Om Tat Sat