All around the world hearts are lifted in gratitude today in recognition of a revered spiritual text which is oftentimes referred to as "The Song of God". Today, Gita Jayanti, celebrates the birth of the Bhagavad Gita.
Since the very first time I read the Bhagavad Gita my heart was captured by the truths it contains. Every time I have returned to a verse or a passage its meaning becomes even more clear as it penterates itself deeper within my consciousness. It is certainly an inspired text I would highly recommend reading.
In the introduction to his translation of the Bhagavad Gita, scholar and spiritual teacher Eknath Easwaran writes, "It offers something to every seeker after God, of whatever temperament, by whatever path. The reason for this universal appeal is that it is basically practical: it is a handbook for Self-realization and a guide to action."
The Bhagavad Gita takes place on the battlefield of Kureksetra. It primarily consists of dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna. Arjuna is a devotee of Krishna, and Krishna is serving as Arjuna's charioteer but is God in human form. On the battlefield is many of Arjuna's relatives who are determined to fight against him. Arjuna grows faint and begins to lose resolve. He turns to Krishna and laments, "My whole body is trembling, my hair is standing on end, my bow Gandiva is slipping from my hand, and my skin is burning." (1.29) Verses later he expresses his view that it would be better to die unarmed than to take any of the lives of his relatives. "Better for me if the sons of Dhrtarastra, weapons in hand, were to kill me unarmed and unresisting on the battlefield." (1.45) What follows is an unforgettable exchange which continues to be a source of direction in which those seeking to explore their consciousness, unravel layers of ego, and become more aware and devoted to the Divine within, go to drink deep its nectar. (Verses found in Gita As It Is: Translation by Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada)
Renown spiritual master Radhanath Swami says this regarding the Gita's setting:
"The Gita had been spoken on a battlefield because life is a battle. Life is a battle , where evil perpetually attacks good and our sacred ideals are destined to be tested. We would all be confronted with grave dangers and demons within and without. There was much to be gained with facing these aggressors with integrity and faith. Krishna's timeless call culminated in the practice of selfless devotion, determination, and spiritual absorption as the means to access a power beyond our own to overcome all fear-the power of God's love."I will conclude this post in honor of Gita Jayanti with a passage from the Gita that Mahatma Gandhi often said contained its entire essence. It is one that Eknath Easwaran highly recommends anyone who takes up his form of passage meditation to memorize. I hope you enjoy and encourage you to leave any thoughts or comments in the comments section. Thank you! :)
~The Journey Home, p. 183
Tell me of those
Who live always in wisdom, ever aware
Of the Self, O Krishna: how they talk,
How sit, how move about?
They live in wisdom
Who see themselves in all and all in them,
Whose love for the Lord of Love has consumed
Every selfish desire and sense craving
Tormenting the heart. Not agitated
By grief or hankering after pleasure,
They live free from lust and fear and anger,
Fettered no more by selfish attachments,
They are not elated by good fortune
Or depressed by bad. Such are the seers.
Even as a tortoise draws in its limbs,
The wise can draw in their senses at will,
Though aspirants abstain from sense pleasures,
They will still crave for them. These cravings
Disappear when they see the Lord of Love,
For even of those who tread the path,
The stormy senses can sweep off the mind,
And keep their minds ever absorbed in Me.
When you keep thinking about some objects,
Attachments comes. Attachment breeds desire,
The lust of possession which, when thwarted,
Burns to anger. Anger clouds the judgement;
You can no longer learn from past mistakes.
Lost is the power to choose between the wise
And unwise, and your life is utter waste.
But when you move amidst the world of sense
From both attachment and aversion freed,
There comes the peace in which all sorrows end
And you live in the wisdom of the Self.
The disunited mind is far from wise;
How can it meditate? How be at peace?
When you know no peace, how can you know joy?
When you let your mind heed the Siren call
Of the senses, they will carry away
Your better judgement as storms drive a boat
Off its safe-charted course to certain doom.
Use all your power to set the senses free
From attachment and aversion alike,
And live in the full wisdom of the Self.
Such a sage awakes to light in the night
Of all creatures.That which the world calls day
Is the night of ignorance to the wise.
As the rivers flow into the ocean
But cannot make the vast ocean overflow,So flow the magic streams of the sense-world
Into the sea of peace that is the sage.
They are forever free who break away
From the ego-cage of I, me, and mine
To be united with the Lord of Love,
This is the supreme state. Attain to this
And pass from death to immortality.
(The Bhagavad Gita 2:54-72, translation: Eknath Easwaran)