The Bhagavad Gita means “the song of the Lord”. It was written by the sage, Vyasa, in around 400 BCE and 200 CE. The Bhagavad Gita is one of the most widely read spiritual texts in the world. The message from The Bhagavad Gita is universal which continues to be true in every age, and will continue to be. The Bhagavad Gita exhorts us to realize that the greatest and most perpetual conflict lies within our own consciousness.
The Scripture of The Bhagavad Gita
The Bhagavad Gita has 18 chapters with 700 verses the religious text within the Mahabharata. There are sections on Karma yoga, Bhakti yoga and Jnana yoga. It is referred as the Gita also and prefixed by the term Srimad as a sign of respect. The Bhagavad Gita explains the primary teachings related to yoga, meditation and Hindu (or Vedantic) spiritual practice. The Bhagavad Gita originally written in Sanskrit. The sounds of Sanskrit words themselves are manifestations of God and their sounds are a source of expressing divinity. The Bhagavad Gita, also refers as an ‘Upanishad’ and also called as Gitopanisad. It is believed, the study of the Bhagavad Gita leads to an understanding of God, truth, purpose and liberation.
What Message The Bhagavad Gita Gives
The message from The Bhagavad Gita is in the form of dialogue between Lord Krishna and the princely warrior Arjuna just before the onset of the devastating Mahabharata war.
While Krishna explains to Arjuna his role and responsibilities, he describes the four different yogic paths. Through the 18 chapters of The Bhagavad Gita, Krishna explains about dharma, self-doubt and fear, rightful action, morals, seeking truth and the Divine.
The four yogic paths of The Bhagavad Gita deals with problems of the mind and stem back to concerns over the Self. What we learn is that yoga is ultimately about overcoming obstacles of the mind and learning to experience one’s true nature.
The four yogic paths include:
1.Karma yoga (yoga of action),
2.Bhakti yoga (yoga of devotion),
3.Jnana yoga (yoga of intellect and mind) and
4.Raja yoga (yoga of physical and mental control).
Karma means “to do” and is the path of action. It describes the action we take in our lifetime and also the consequences of our actions, which we receive. Karmic yoga is a way of thinking about our actions carefully, choosing our actions wisely in accordance with our virtues and being willing to act out our rightful duties in our lifetime.
“He who has let go of hatred, who treats all beings with kindness and compassion, who is always serene, unmoved by pain or pleasure, free of the ‘I’ and ‘mine,’ self-controlled, firm and patient, his whole mind focused on me — that is the man I love best.” – Lord Krishna
Bhakti means “loving devotion.” In Bhakti yoga, we practice loving others and forming unions, which we do through devotion, practice and our dharma. We form meaningful human relationships with loving partners/spouses, friends, parents and children.
“He who is rooted in oneness realizes that I am in every being; wherever he goes, he remains in me. When he sees all being as equal in suffering or in joy because they are like himself, that man has grown perfect in yoga.” -Lord Krishna
Jnana means “spiritual knowledge” or “spiritual wisdom.” It helps us in different ways, that recognize our experiences and to learn knowledge, wisdom, virtues and truth. With awareness and introspection, meditation, inquiry, into our own minds, we practice Jnana yoga and exercise our will to understand the truth.
Jnana yoga is the hardest to follow as it requires facing difficulties honestly and taking responsibility for our actions. It takes strength, perseverance and intellect. It is the most important path because it helps us connect with our true nature.
“The awakened sages call a person wise when all his undertakings are free from anxiety about results; all his selfish desires have been consumed in the fire of knowledge. The wise, ever satisfied, have abandoned all external supports. Their security is unaffected by the results of their action; even while acting, they really do nothing at all. Free from expectations and from all sense of possession, with mind and body firmly controlled by the Self, they do not incur sin by the performance of physical action. They live in freedom who have gone beyond the dualities of life. Competing with no one, they are alike in success and failure and content with whatever comes to them. They are free, without selfish attachments; their minds are fixed in knowledge. They perform all work in the spirit of service, and their karma is dissolved.” – Lord Krishna
Raja means The King. It is about to learn to control our physical and mental environments. It teaches us to practice Asanas, chants , meditation, relaxation, and Mudras, which help us gain control over both the physical body and mind.
“The happiness which comes from long practice, which leads to the end of suffering, which at first is like poison, but at last like nectar – this kind of happiness arises from the serenity of one’s own mind.” -Lord Krishna
In The Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna has many questions for Krishna regarding morals, virtue and the Self. Arjun was fighting against his own family members, harming people at a disadvantage to himself which was tearing him apart. He has no desire to fight and didn’t wished to rule a kingdom won by violence.
The battleground setting of The Bhagavad Gita
It is an analogy of many ethical and moral struggles of human life. Krishna tells Arjuna to go forward and recognize that duty (dharma) . Duty is more important than a human body, a human body is temporary, made of mere flesh and should used for rightful action. He explains that doing one’s personal duty is the highest good and what brings a human closer to God.
Krishna says, “It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else’s life with perfection….The embodied soul is eternal in existence, indestructible and infinite. Only the material body is factually perishable; therefore, fight O Arjuna.”
One of the more unusual aspects of the Bhagavad Gita is its battlefield setting, with a spiritual text. Many commentators and writers have regarded the battlefield as “ The War Within.”
This could be the struggle for self-mastery, or the war against the ego or ignorance.
In The Bhagavad Gita Krishna coaches Arjuna toward right thought and action. He reminds him to remember God and fight. One should aim at to cling to truth, or fight for the victory of Divine consciousness in his own mind. We need to understand this lesson for us we all must fight this daily battle between the impulses of good and evil that arise.
The Bhagavad Gita is the earliest examples of a leadership text.
The Bhagavad Gita details Lord Krishna’s advice to the warrior, Arjuna. As such, it is an action text, perfectly created for those who need to lead others in any “battle” or mission. The leadership skills one can learn from The Bhagavad Gita is..
First of all, the Gita teaches that your example is a powerful thing.
“Whatever action is performed by a great man, common men follow in his footsteps, and whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues.”
In a world where it’s easy to lose sight of your individual power,reminds you that your influence is extraordinary. When you set an moral example, you inspire others to follow the practice.
“Strive constantly to serve the welfare of the world; by devotion to selfless work one attains the supreme goal of life. Do your work with the welfare of others always in mind.”
Krishna counsels that all action should be taken from a selfless place.It endeavors to contribute not only to your immediate goals, but to your greater spiritual development. Leading becomes a spiritual practice.
“No one who does good work will ever come to a bad end, either here or in the world to come.”
Perhaps the most challenging leadership lesson of the Gita is to act without expectation of reward.
“You have the right to work, but never to the fruit of work. You should never engage in action for the sake of reward, nor should you long for inaction. Perform work in this world, Arjuna, as a man established within himself – without selfish attachments, and alike in success and defeat.”
Cultivating an attitude of equanimity is the ultimate message of the Gita. The aim is to do the work to the best of your ability while letting go of attachment to the results. This does not mean not having a goal or intention, but rather to set your goal, then take the action for the sake of the action. You act because it is the right thing to do, without concern for praise or reward.
One of my favorite passage I like the most reads as, “When this I shall die, then I shall know who I truly am.” As long as we are giving in to the small self-centered “I,” we will never find peace.
We must identify and fight the inside voices of our mind that fluctuates between proud and self-righteous. The critical and condemning, as they are all of the ego. We must choose the still, small, kind voice of the true Self. It reminds us that we are beautiful souls and we need to come home to our inherent strength, beauty, wisdom and love….