Gita–An antidote for life in Kali
Contd from previous issue
The question raised is whether action or renunciation of action is better and it concludes that action is better. The Gita is therefore a mandate for action. Whereas, the Samkhya, which is another name for wisdom (jnana) in the Gita, requires us to renounce action. The philosophy of Vedanta is to obtain complete release and do work in the world. Isa Upanishad adopts a similar view. (Isopanisad 2)
So, Gita points out that action is better than renunciation, and it is not possible for us to abstain from action, and cessation of action is not desirable. The teacher of Arjuna explains that renunciation does not mean not to act, but to make the frame of mind behind the act, and it also means absence of desires. So, Krishna advices Arjuna to fight without passion or ill-will, without anger or attachment and in such a frame of mind violence is impossible. One should fight against what is wrong. Please refer to the Gita what Lord Krishna instructs Arjuna to fight. (Bg : 2.18,37; 3.19; 4.15; 8.7; 9.33; 16.24; 18.6,72).
Krishna also tells Arjuna that one can attain perfection even while doing one’s duties, and action must be done devotedly and wholeheartedly without attachment to the results. The spirit of the Gita is detachment and dedication and have love even for our enemy. Purification of heart is necessary and therefore one should perform all acts of speech, mind and body by dedicating to the Supreme Lord. Action done in the spirit of a sacrifice ceases to be a source of bondage.
Action is also for self-fulfilment. Karma-yoga is an alternative method of approach to the goal of life according to the Gita. Samkara also holds that karma and bhakti are means of spiritual freedom.
We should live in this world as God intends us to live by placing ourselves in the hands of the Supreme Lord as perfect instruments for His use to attain the highest spiritual wisdom. While doing so we should however keep alive the precious unearthly flames of uniqueness.
The goal, according to the Bhagavad-gita is “Those persons who execute their duties in accordance to My injunctions and who follow this teaching faithfully, without envy shall be released in due course from the bondage of works (Bg 3.31).
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the Founder-Acharya of ISKCON (1896-1977) wrote the ‘Bhagavad-gita As It Is’ in its original verses, its English transliteration, word-for-word Sanskrit-English equivalents, translations and purports. Srila Prabhupada’s purpose of writing the Bhagavad-gita As It Is – having full parampara explanation, is to establish the Krishna Consciousness movement throughout the world. This Bhagavad-gita As It Is has no adulteration from the original one which was chanted by Lord Krishna to His friend-disciple Arjuna. It is also claimed that the Gita spoken by Lord Krishna to Arjuna is not different from that Gita spoken by Lord Krishna to the Sun-god some hundreds of millions of years ago. Srila Prabhupada said : “We have to accept this fact and thus understand the historical significance of Bhagavad-gita without misinterpretation, on the authority of Krishna. To interpret Bhagavad-gita without any reference to the will of Krishna is the greatest offense. One has to understand the Lord as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as He was directly understood by Arjuna. Such understanding of Bhagavad-gita is really profitable and authorized for the welfare of human society in fulfilling the mission of life.”
According to Sri Aurobindo : “All life is yoga. In the Integral yoga, the integral life down to the smallest detail has to be divinized; an inner illumination that does not change the outer life leaves the world as it is. The object of our yoga is self-perfection and world perfection.”
The Gita is not sectarian, as it belongs to all humankind. Krishna is not a Hindu or Indian God. Krishna only means the ‘all attractive’. The Gita propounds the pursuit of sanatana dharma or eternal science of values – eternal truth, through all ages, applicable to all peoples of the world. Truth, like any law of science and unlike religion, cannot be sectarian. As religion also means faith, and faith is changeable, a Christina can embrace Islam or Buddhism and so on, but sanatana dharma is universal and does not change.
The goal of the Gita is to find a permanent solution to human misery. It proposes that human being should not be content with ephemeral pleasures in the material world, and he should instead seek and attain eternal peace and happiness in the spiritual world. In order to achieve the goal of life, one needs to understand the truths and realize the transient nature of human existence, and therefore he requires to view life in the correct perspective in order to cope with his anxieties and dilemmas experienced during his short life time.
Lord Krishna who proclaimed Himself as the Supreme Godhead boldly gave His final message to all humanity in the world through His friend, student Arjuna and His message is necessary to be remembered always : “Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender to Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.” (Bg 18.66)
Mahatma Gandhi meditated on the Gita when he had doubts and disappointments and could not see any ray of hope on the horizon and thus he could derive fresh joy and new meanings from the Gita every day.