Gita — The song of life

The Bhagavad Gita is a highly classical text, the holy Hindu scripture that is a part of the epic Mahabharata. The Gita comprises of 700 verses spoken by Lord Krishna to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra.

The reason why we call it a highly classical text is because the Gita is not a mere doctrine that dictates the rules that Hinduism needs to follow. It is an extremely intellectual body of content that gives out deep meaning of life and the application of which, can transform the mindset of any individual. The verses in the Gita go on to explain the science of life. Lord Krishna explains how life functions, the interpretation of which only a Guru can decipher appropriately.

After attending a three day discourse given by Swami Sukhabodhananda on deriving personal excellence through the Gita — it made me further understand the beauty of the Gita and how relevant it can be to all of us who live in denial.

Chapter 9
Verses 19, 20 and 21

tapamy aham aham varsam nigrhnamy utsrjami ca
amrtam caiva mrtyus ca sad asac caham arjuna

In this verse Lord Krishna tells Arjuna that He is the heat in the sun; He is what sends forth and withholds the rain; He is immortality and death; and all that exists in the manifest present, the unmanifest past and the unmanifest future.

Swami Sukhabodhananda interprets this verse in the most profound way stating that the Lord is everything. If we look around and observe normal day to day activities we can see the presence of God even in the most insignificant activities. We use our eyes to see, our ears to hear, but what is the power that helps us see? What is the principle that helps us hear? The heat in fire, the principle of rain, the boon of immortality and the doom of death itself — is God. We are conditioned to look at the periphery of things, the exterior of incidents, and we always fail to look within. The reason why Hindu women wear a Bindi/Bhottu is to help them see the difference between “Sukshma” and “Sthoola”, the false and the real. The Bindi denotes the third eye that should help us look at people, incidents, and life itself in the purest form. Lord Krishna so beautifully tells us that we always look from the outside and not from the inside. If we learn to look at things with an open mind, without any conditioning, we shall then value life in its whole without any associations attached to it.

“We are wired wrong” says Swami Sukhabodhananda, and “it’s not our fault”. Our minds always dwell on the past or is pre-occupied thinking of the future, failing to understand that life is in the NOW, in the present! We let go of the present because we are caught up thinking about the past, and worrying about the future which is why the Gita states that the past and future are “unmanifest”, the only true whole manifestation is the present. And wise is such a man who realizes the power of the present. To experience an experience as an experiencer without any associations but accepting the experience in its truest form is what we should learn to do. For example: If someone calls you an idiot, immediately a number of files/associations open up in our minds and we start relating to the word idiot. But, if we experience the moment without any association we will realize that the word idiot is only a word! It is not you, the word is static, it is momentary and it is a word someone else has chosen to speak, that doesn’t define you. If we understand this depth of life and introspect for a while, we shall indefinitely see how we have ruined our own minds because of unnecessary thoughts. Life is a series of present moments, so why then do we live in the past or contemplate the future? Does anyone know what is going to happen the next second? The answer is no. And any person with a decent amount of intellect will realize the sense of it.

trai-vidya mam som-pah puta-papa
yajnair istva svargatim prarthyante
te punyam asadya surendra lokam
asnanti divyan divi deva-bhogan

Trai-vidya…knowers of the prescribed rituals of the three Vedas; puta-papah…purified of sins; soma-pah…by remnants of the heavenly elixir; istva…worship; mam…me; yajhnair…indirectly by sacrifice to the demigods; te…they; prarthayante…aspire for; svargatim…entry into the heavenly spheres; asadya…after reaching; punyam…as their reward; surendra lokam…the world of Lord Indra; asnanti…enjoy; divyan…the celestial; deva-bhogan…the pleasures of the demigods; divi…in heaven.

Knowers of the prescribed rituals of the three Vedas, purified of sins by the remnants of the heavenly elixir, worship me indirectly by such offerings of sacrifice to the demigods; they aspire for entry to the hevenly spheres, where after reaching as their reward the world of Indra, enjoy the celestial pleasures of the demigods in heaven.

In Hinduism there are two forms of prayers mentioned in the three Vedas (the Rig, Yajur and Sama Veda). The Karmakanda and the Gyanakanda. The Karmakanda is the form of praying to the Gods through rituals that waver in degrees of intensity. Another form of prayer, which is co-related to Karmakanda is Gyanakanda which means imparting knowledge about the religion from a Guru to a disciple. These are the two main forms of prayer that take place in Hindu prayers. Karmakanda which includes yajhnair (yagna) and other such practices are viewed as primitive practices, often mocked by many people. Little do they know that every ritual has an incredibly deep meaning, which most of us are sadly ignorant of. The normal fire ritual (yagna) of pouring ghee into the fire whilst slokha’s are being narrated by a prescribed Guru, denotes or rather inculcates the attitude of Tyaga (giving), Shraddha (discipline) and Bhakthi (faith). And the reason behind practising such rituals is to help Hindu’s achieve an automatic sense of giving, discipline and faith. And the manner in which it is related to Gyanakanda is through its discipline, for without any discipline the mind cannot give or grasp knowledge to its maximum potential. Lord Krishna addresses the the process of “thinking to feeling to being” through the Gita.

In this verse Lord Krishna says that a person who knows the three Vedas will consume Soma-papa, an exquisite elixir, thereby purifying his sins and performing sacrifices to please the demigods and entry the world of Indraloka, which is one universe part of many universes present. After reaching his desired universe, he shall enjoy the pleasures offered by heaven.

In the next verse the Lord states:

te tam bhuktva svarga-lokam visalam
ksine punye martya-lokam visanti
evam trayi-dharmam anuprapanna
gatagatam kama-kama labhante

Having enjoyed extensively the heavenly spheres, the results of their pious activities being exhausted, return to the worlds of mortals; thus following the doctrine of righteousness in the three Vedas, desires of sense enjoyment receive only the cycle of birth and death.

The Lord in-explicitly tells us that many people devote their life to attain certain goals. These goals are purely materialistic and result oriented. He cited the manner in which a knowledgeable man who knows the three Vedas makes reaching Indraloka the goal of his life and thereby dedicates his whole being in achieving this set goal. After having achieved his goal, and reaching heaven he exploits all pleasures that world has to offer and then realises that he still isn’t satisfied and hence returns back to earth, back to the cycle of birth and death. This is exactly the situation in all our lives. We run behind materialism — money, fame, name, popularity, position, status and are constantly in this rat race not realising that in the end we remain just rats. After having achieved money, we move onto our next goal of achieving a house, then a bigger house, bigger status and the wants keep growing endlessly. Such is the stats tells Lord Krishna that a well versed man with the knowledge of the Vedas also, can’t be happy in heaven. For the main point is to be content. To be happy with what we have and learning to appreciate life in its totality rather than its periphery is what the Gita states. It is called the Gita (a song) because the Lord wants our lives to be like a song. Lord Krishna spoke these profound verses on the battlefield to Arjuna because life is a battlefield in itself and the Gita is meant to help us get through this battle of life with happiness in our hearts and to live it with absolute being and totality.

If two verses of the Gita gives such an in-depth understanding of life, the complete content changes lives — just as it did for me.

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Single Mom, Artist, Writer, Head of Human Resources, Influencer

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Tara Pondicherry

Tara Pondicherry

Single Mom, Artist, Writer, Head of Human Resources, Influencer

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