Bhagavad Gita



Swami Sivananda

The Bhagavad Gita is a dialogue between Lord Krishna and Arjuna, narrated in the Bhishma-Parva of Mahabharata. It comprisres eighteen chapters of a total of 700 Sanskrit Verses. Considerable matter has been condensed and compressed within these verses. On the battlefield of Kurukshetra, Lord Krishna, during the discourse of His most interesting and instructive talk with Arjuna, revealed the profound, sublime and soul-stirring spiritual truths and expounded to him rare secrets of Yoga, Vedanta, Bhakti and Karma. All the teachings of Lord Krishna were subsequently recorded as the Song Celestial or the Bhagavad Gita by Sri Bhagavan Vyasa for the benefit of humanity at large. The world is under a great debt of gratitude to Sri Vyasa who has presented this Celestial Song to humanity for their daily conduct in life, spiritual uplift and Self-realisation. Only those who are self-controlled and are endowed with faith can reap the full benefit of the Gita, which is the Science of the Soul.

The Gita Jayanti day or the birthday of the Bhagavd Gita is celebrated throughout India by all the admirers and lovers of this unique book on the 11th day (Ekadasi) of the brightest half of the Margasirsha month according to Hindu almanac. It was the day on which this scripture was revealed to the world by Sanjaya.

In the whole world-literature there is no book so elevating and so inspiring as the Gita. The Gita expounds very lucidly the cardinal principles or the fundamentals of Hindu religion and the Hindu Dharma. It is the source of all wisdom. It is your great guide. It is your supreme teacher. It is an inexhaustible spiritual treasure. It is a fountain of Bliss. It is an ocean of Knowledge. It is full of Divine splendour and grandeur.

The Gita is the cream of the Vedas. It is the essence of all Upanishads. It is the universal scripture for all people of all temperaments and for all times. It is a wonderful book with sublime thoughts and practical instructions on Yoga, Devotion, Vedanta and Action. It is a marvellous book, profound in throughts and sublime in heights of vision. It gives peace and solace to the souls who are afflicted by the three fires (Taapa Traya) of this mortal world (Samsara), viz., Adhyatmika (afflictions caused by one’s own body), Adhibhautika (those caused by beings around one), and Adhidaivika (those caused by the demi-gods or forces of nature).

The Bhagavad Gita contains the divine nectar. It is the Chintamani, Kalpataru and Kamadhenu (wish-fulfilling gem, tree and cow respectively). You can milk out anything from it. It is a book of eternity. It is not a catch-penny book which has a life like that of a mushroom. The Gita has been my constant companion of life. It is a vade mecum for all. Peace, Bliss, Ananda, Happiness, Wisdom, Atman, Brahman, Purusha, Dhama, Nirvana, Param Padam, Gita are all only synonymous terms.

The Gita is a boundless ocean of nectar. It is an immortal celestial fruit of the tree of Upanishads. In this unique book, you will find an unbiased exposition of the philosophy of action, devotion and knowledge and a wonderful synthesis. The Bhagavad Gita is a rare and splendid flower that wafts its sweet fragrance throughout the world. All the upanishads represent cows; Sri Krishna is the milker of the Upanishad-Cows; Partha (Arjuna) is the calf who first tasted that milk of wisdom of the self, which was milked by the Divine Cowherd, Sri Krishna, for the benefit of Arjuna and all humanity, as the Bhagavad Gita. It helps to solve not only Arjuna’s problems and doubts, but also the world problems and the problems and doubts of every individual. Glory to Lord Krishna, the friend of the cowherds of Gokula, the Joy of Devaki ! He who drinks the nectar of the Gita through purification of the heart and meditation, attains immortality, eternal bliss, everlasting peace and perennial Joy.

Just as the dark unfathomed depths of the ocean contain more precious pearls, so also the Gita contains spiritual gems of incalculable value. You will have to dive deep into the depths of the ocean of the Gita with sincere attitude of reverence and faith. Only then will you be able to collect the spiritual pearls of the Gita. Only then will you be able to comprehend the profound and subtle teachings of the Gita.

The Gita is a unique book for all ages. It is a book that comes under the category of Prasthanatraya, the authoritative books of the Hindu religion. The Gita is the immortal Song of the Soul, whicih bespeaks the glory of life. The instructions that are inculcated by Sri Krishna are for the whole world. It is a standard book on Yoga for all. The language is as simple as it could be. Even a man who has elementary knowledge of Sanskrit can go through the book. It deals with the four Yogas, viz., Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Raja Yoga and Jnana Yoga.

The Gita is like the lake of Manasasarovara for the Paramahamsa (monks and renunciates) and thirsting aspirants to sport in. It is the ocean of bliss in which the seekers of Truth swim with joy and ecstasy. If the philosopher’s stone touches a piece of iron even at one point, the whole of it is transformed into gold. Even so, if you live in the spirit of even one verse, you will doubtless be transmuted into divinity.

Study of the Gita alone is sufficient for the purpose of daily Svadhyaya (Scriptural Study). You will find a solution here for all your doubts. The more you study with devotion and faith, the more you will get deeper knowledge, penetrative insight and clear right thinking. Even if you live in the spirit of one verse of the Gita, all your miseries will come to an end and you will attain the goal of life – Immortality and Eternal Peace.

The Gita is a gospel for the whole world. It is meant for the generality of mankind. It was given over five thousand years ago on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, by Lord Krishna to Arjuna. None but the Lord can bring out such an unprecedented and marvellous book which gives peace to the readers, which helps and guides them in the attainment of Supreme Bliss, which has survived upto this time. This itself proves clearly that God exists, that God is an embodiment of knowledge and that one can attain perfection or liberation by realising God alone.

The whole world is a battlefield. The real Kurukshetra is within you. The battle of Mahabharata is still raging within you. Ignorancce (Avidya) is Dhritarashtra. The individual soul is Arjuna. The Indweller Who Dwells in your heart is Lord Krishna, the charioteer. The body is your chariot. The senses (Indriyas) are the horses. The mind, egoism, senses, sanskaras (mental impressions), vasanas (latent tendecies), cravings, Raga-Dvesha (likes and dislikes), lust, jealousy, greed, pride and hypocrisy are your dire enemies. Bhagvad Gita teaches you how to transcend these and realise your highest Divine nature.

Glory, glory to the Gita. Glory to Lord Krishna, Who has placed the Gita before men of this world for attaining Sreyas or Moksha. May His blessings be upon you all ! May the Gita be your center, ideal and goal ! Blessed is the man who studies the Gita daily. Twice blessed is he who lives in the spirit of the Gita. Thrice blessed is he who has realised the knowledge of the Gita, Atmajnana or Self Knowledge.

Om Tat Sat. Om Santih, Santih, Santih.

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