Bhagwad Gita: Shri Krishna’s gift to humankind
Er. Prabhat Kishore
“YadaYada Hi Dharmasya Glanirbhavati Bharatah;
Abhyutthanam Dharmasya Tadatmanam Srijamyaham.
Paritranam SadhunamVinashayCha Dushkritam
Dharma sansthap anarthay SambhavamiYugeYuge.”
(Whenever and wherever there is decay of Dharmaand there is the exaltation of unrighteousness, then I Myself come forth. For the protection of good, for the destruction of evil-doers, for the sake of firmly establishing righteousness, I incarnate myself in the human form from age to age.)
Krishna Janmashtami marks the birth anniversary of Bhagwan Krishna, the8th Avtar of BhagwanVishnu, which falls on Ashtamitithi of Krishna Paksha of Bhadra month. Shri Krishna is the epitome of love, faith, friendship and peace. He is the deity of protection, compassion, and tenderness. Ideal friend, wise teacher, far-seeing statesman, devout yogi, and invincible warrior, He harmonizes in His character the various conflicting activities of life.
Shrimad BhagwadGita, popularly known as Gita, is the pious gift of Shri Krishna to the human kind. It includes collection of His counseling to Arjun on various segments of life, like Dharma, Karma, Theistic Devotion, Yogic ideals, salvation, knowledge etc. It shows the way to spiritualize life and illuminate even its drab and gray phases with the radiance of the Spirit.
The three Vedic scriptures, namely- the Upnishads, the Brahma Sutras, and the Bhagwad Gita, is called PrasthanTrayi (three points of commencement for understanding Vedic thoughts). There are ‘Mantras’ (Mystical rubrics) in the Upnishad, ‘Sutras’ (aphorisms) in the Brahma Sutra, and ‘Shlokas’ (verses) in the Bhagwad Gita. The Upnishads are of use & value for deserving only, and the Brahma Sutras (also called Vedant) are of use & importance for men of erudition & learning; but the Gita is for, one and all. It narrates “if the whole Vedantic philosophy is a cow, then the milk is the Holy Gita. Those people , who are really thirsty and seekers of truth, drink this nectar and become immortal.”
The message of Gita came to humanity because of Arjun’s unwillingness to do his duty as a warrior. Its entire 700-shlokas (verses) are immortal discourse between the Supreme Bhagwan Krishna and his devotee-friend Arjun and it occurred not in a temple, a secluded forest, or on a mountain top, but in the middle of a battlefield on the eve of Kurukshetra Dharma Yuddha of Mahabharat. Arjun’s dilemma is,in reality, universal dilemma. Every human being faces dilemma, big or small, in their daily life when performing their duties. Arjun’s dilemma was the biggest one, as he has to make a choice between fighting the war and killing his Guru, relatives, & many innocent warriors or running away from battle-field for the sake of preserving peace & non-violence.
The Gita is a Yogashashtra. The word “Yoga” denotes the union of individual soul with Universal Soul. It takes into consideration the different types of human minds-the active, the philosophical, the emotional, and the psychic–and profound for them, respectively, the path of work (Karmayoga), the path of knowledge (Gyanyoga), the path of love &devotion(Bhaktiyoga) and the path of concentration and self-control (Rajyoga).
Besides these, there is description of Yagya (Sacrifice), Dan (Charity), Tap (penance), Dhyanyoga (Yoga of meditation), Pranayam (Control of breath), Hathyoga (austere discipline of body etc.), Layayoga(Yoga of rhythmic unison) etc.
The Gita is called Brahmavidya, the science of Absolute andMokshashashtra, the scripture dealing with liberation. The aim of Krishna’s teaching is to remove the doubts and delusions that overpower man in everything, great or small; but these can be removed only through a realization of Truth.
In the Gita, Shri Krishna emphasizes Swadharma, once own Dharma. Actually, the word “Dharma” is untranslatable and ‘Religion’, ‘duty’, ‘righteousness’ or other equivalents give only a partial meaning . It signifies the attitude behind a man’s action or duty that sustains him in his present stage of evolution. If a man performs his duties, surrendering the fruits to God and discarding all selfish motives, he gains purity of heart and achieves ultimate liberation.
The ultimate aim of Gita is, in a word, the attainment of the highest good, characterized by the complete cessation of relative existence and its cause. One must learn to give up lust, anger, greed & establish mastery over the six senses (hearing, touch, sight, taste, smell & mind); and also keep in mind that all works are done by energy of nature and he/she is not the doer but only an instrument. One must strive for excellence in all undertakings but maintain equanimity in success & failure, gain & loss, and pain & pleasure. Even if success does not come to our life, a little attempt will lead us one- step further towards the divine life.
The Bhagwad Gita is universally renowned as jewel of world’s spiritual wisdom. It has ignited a spiritual revolution for thousands of years which is still burning. The Gita is not originated with any specific “ism”or belief, in view e.g. Dvaita, Advaita, Vishishtadvaita, Dvaitadvaita, Vishuddhadvaita, Achintya-Bhedabheda, nor any cult, creed or doctrine. Its supreme objective is;that man’s salvation must be ensured in any circumstances.
(The author is a technocrat and an academician. He holds Master in Engineering from M N Regional Engineering College, Allahabad/Prayagraj)