Someone asked me once “Does Bhagawad Gita have all the answers one is looking for?” I replied, “Yes it has all the answers, but not in the manner we are looking for”. Srimad Bhagawad Gita was written thousands of years ago but it is still relevant today and will be relevant in future as well. It is not only a book but revelations of how to live a good life and realize the ultimate truth.
Srimad Bhagavad Gita is a dialogue between Lord Krishna and Arjuna, narrated in the epic Mahabharata. It comprises eighteen discourses of a total of 701 Sanskrit verses. On the battlefield of Kurukshetra, Sri Krishna, while conversing with Arjuna, revealed profound and life-changing spiritual truths, and expounded the rare secrets of Yoga, Vedanta, Bhakti and Karma. All the teachings of Lord Krishna were subsequently recorded as the Srimad Bhagavad Gita by Sage Vyasa for the benefit of humanity at large.
We believe that modern problems require modern solutions. We also think that anything that is old may be appreciated for its antiqueness but may not be useful in today’s world. This may be true for the ancient artefacts but not for Srimad Bhagawad Gita. In Hinduism, we have many ancient scriptures but not all have found a place in the house of every Hindu. All the Hinduism scholars like Adi Shankaracharya, Sri Ramanuja and Sri Madhava have provided commentaries on it so that we can all taste the nectar. It may seem like a mystery that such an old book is still loved by so many people in today’s world, but in reality, there are many practical reasons for it.
The way it is written – Srimad Bhagawad Geeta is written in the form of a conversation between Shri Krishna and Arjuna. Arjuna is in sorrow and is asking all the right questions in a way that it feels like we are asking those questions as we also face similar problems. The knowledge is blessed to us in the form of answers from Shri Krishna. Apart from the translation from Sanskrit, the language used is very simple and It becomes easy to read for everyone.
Another great thing about Srimad Bhagawad Gita is that it is a part of the epic Mahabharata. We all love and enjoy stories and especially ones where there is a message. I have not seen any modern-day books or any scriptures that come close to Mahabharata in terms of grandness and glory. There is a debate whether Mahabharata is based on true events or not. From the core of my heart, I believe that it happened. However, it may not be relevant when we talk about applying the knowledge of Srimad Bhagawad Gita in our daily life. The truth will always be untouched and eternal in whatever way it may be presented.
On the Battlefield – The practicality of the Bhagawad Gita can be seen in the fact that it is about dialogue that occurred on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Shree Krishna blessed Arjuna with the truth when he was struggling and was in dilemma to fight his own cousins. Our life also feels like a battlefield most of the time. We all have the stress of jobs, relationships, or illness. It is critical to understand that Krishna did not give the knowledge of Yoga to someone who has renounced everything and who was sitting in a cave. Shree Krisha is having a dialogue with a warrior who is depressed and saddened as he is in dilemma in fulfilling his duty.
Spirituality for the busiest people, Kings – We believe that spirituality is for people who either have lots of time or who have retired. Bhagawad Gita completely contradicts that because it was discussed between two kings. Kings are supposed to be the busiest people in olden times as they had to look after their kingdom. You might be surprised but many Hindu scriptures have kings at the centre of all the teachings. For, e.g. Ahtavakra Gita is based on the conversation between King Janaka and Rishi Ashtavakra. If Kings could do it, then we can also do it and I am sure we cannot be busier than the kings. Our so-called kingdoms are very small compared to theirs.
Yogas for all – We all have different temperaments and come from different backgrounds. We all have different perspectives on life and due to this the path we choose would be different. One solution may not be applicable to all. Srimad Bhagawad Gita contains many paths which we can choose based on our liking. The Sankhya Yoga chapter shows a path of knowledge for those who want to start with intellectual. The Karma yoga chapter is for those who believe in action and helping humanity through service. Dhyan yoga is for those who want to take the path of meditation. The chapter on Bhakti yoga is for seekers who want to spend their life in devotion to their deity. All the chapter names have Yoga at the end, which means all the chapters will lead you on the path of realization, becoming one with the supreme soul.
Renunciation of the fruit, not action – One of the biggest myths that we all have is that to practice spirituality we have to renounce everything and go to the Himalayans. Srimad Bhagawad Gita speaks about renunciation but that of the internal ones. Sri Krishna emphasises that the real Yogi is one who has renounced the fruits of actions, not the actions themselves. The performance of actions without an eye on their fruits brings about the purification of the mind. Shree Krishna proclaims that we renounce our lower self and become friends with the higher self. Srimad Bhagawad Gita shows us the ways of self-realization and still fulfilling all the duties by staying in this world.
We are very fortunate that we have easy access to Srimad Bhagawad Gita. There are many translations available along with the commentaries of evolved spiritual beings. It is important that we first understand our temperament before choosing the translation. Some are focused on a particular religion and some are based on pure spirituality. You should read the one that connects with you. Also, remember that no book can change your life until you apply those teachings.