Bhagavad Gita – An Introduction

Bhagavad Gita – An Introduction

—- (continued from Blog 1)—-

Krishna starts his teachings (Shloka 2.11) with the assertion that there is no valid reason for grief. He states that the cause of one’s sorrow is ignorance about one’s own self, ‘who am I’; and then discusses various ways and means of dissipating that ignorance. Once the veil of ignorance is pierced, knowledge about oneself dawns ; and sorrows of life diminish.

Gita presents an in-depth study of all the yogas i.e. the means of self-realisation, the paths traversing which one can gain knowledge about one’s true nature. Different yogas, pursuing which one can attain liberation, have been stated as under :

1. Gyan Yoga, the path of knowledge
It deals with the soul (Atman), the self (jeevatman – the embodied soul), the supersoul (Pramatman) and their relationship. It also deals with many other spiritual matters. Such an understanding helps one in leading an aware life, a life full of joy.

2. Sam-budhi yoga, the path of equanimity
It deals with the control of mind, control of the senses ; and remaining equanimous in success and failure etc. Such an understanding leads to a life of serenity.

3. Karma Yoga, work without attachment
By performance of action as an offering to the Supreme and glad acceptance of the results as His blessings, one can remain ever active and still retain his tranquility.

4. Dhyan Yoga, meditation
A great tool for the spiritual upliftment 

5. Bhakti Yoga, path of love and devotion This is the most simple and effective means of self-realisation.

None of the paths suggested by Gita is claimed to be exclusive. They, in fact, are complimentary and supplementary to each other. Depending upon one’s nature and circumstances, one can choose any one or more of these means of liberation. For example, men of contemplation choose gyan yoga and men of action pursue karma yoga (Shloka 3.3). The Lord says assuringly, ‘all paths lead to Me’.

In addition to the above, Gita has discussed various subjects such as cycles of birth and death, escape from such cycles, re-birth, destiny, role of scriptures in spiritual advancement, qualities of a divine person ; and qualities of a demoniac person. Three modes of material nature and also three types of austerity (tapa), charity (daan) and three types of food etc. have also been discussed in detail.

Gita has not only identified the afflictions of human mind such as lust, anger, greed, arrogance, hypocrisy and fear but has also analysed as to why do these arise and how can these be managed.

Thus, leading an aware, active, helpful, devoted, equanimous, joyous and balanced life is the mantra given by Lord Krishna to the mankind. Be as active in the outer world as you can be, but internally always remain anchored in the Eternal Spirit. If we can internalise these teachings, Bhagavad Gita can be the best guide in our day to day life.

to be continued… 

Vijay Singal

Vijay Singal, a former bureaucrat, is an eminent author in the field of spirituality, philosophy, psychology and religion. He writes both in Hindi and in English. His first book 'Behind Psychology : Searching for the Roots' was published in the year 2002. Since then, he has authored many books on various subjects.

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