Unlike all other religions, Hinduism doesn’t have a single text guiding its followers. There are a number of ‘Granthas’ and individuals can choose those that they feel comfortable with, depending on their level of spiritual enhancement. However, the Bhagavat Gita finds a very special place in Hindu sacred literature. Bhagavat Gita translates to ‘word of the Lord’. In a way we can consider it as the starting point of spiritual enhancement. In other words, it is the first step in the rung of ladders that leads to the ultimate truth, Parabrahma. The Gita embodies the essence of Vedic literature and is therefore a good text for beginners. The day Lord Krishna instructed Arjuna is celebrated a Gita Jayanti.
There are several references in the scripture itself which will give us a rough idea of its history. Lord Krishna says in the 4th chapter that He first passed on this knowledge to the Sun God Vivasvan who then passed it on to Manu. These were the first two transmissions that took place is estimated to have occurred more than 12 crores years ago. Manu then passed on the knowledge of Bhagavat Gita to Maharaja Ikshavaku who ruled the planet during Treta Yuga. This transfer took place around 20 lakh years ago and hence the human society knew about Bhagavat Gita since that time. However, over a period of time the spoken knowledge of Gita appeared obscure and hence Lord Krishna decided to pass it on to mankind by teaching it to Arjuna in the battlefield of Kurushetra. This event took place roughly 5000 years ago. The Bhagavat Gita is timeless and the instructions therein can be used even today.
Here are a few lessons we can apply to our daily lives.
1) The most famous quote from the Gita is undoubtedly “कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन। मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोऽस्त्वकर्मणि॥ २-४७” (Chapter 2, verse 47)
In this verse the Lord asks his devotees to continue doing their Karma (duty) without expectations. We must do our duty without fear or favour and not in the hope of getting something in return.
2) Life is always a set of dualities and we need to accept both with equanimity. Nothing is permanent; hence neither sorrow nor happiness will last forever. If we understand that everything in life is cyclical then it will be easier for us to tide over difficult times and stay grounded during successful times.
3) It is important to move ahead with time. People and circumstances keep changing as time passes by and in order to survive we need to constantly reinvent ourselves.
4) Controlling the mind, although the most difficult, is of utmost importance. A still mind can think and work better. When we control our mind we also control our desires thereby bringing peace to ourselves.
5) It shows the true path to happiness which is by controlling our emotions, desires, greed and anger. When we gain control of our senses then we wouldn’t fall into the rap of Maya or illusion.
These are but a few drops in the vast ocean that Bhagvat Gita is. It has instructions for leading our daily life more meaningfully. Lord Krishna himself asserts that one need not give up everything and become a Sanyasi to attain Moksha. In fact doing one’s duty is the highest form of devotion and the person who does his/her duty truthfully and with complete dedication is dear to the Lord. This occasion of Gita Jayanti would be a great time to begin our journey into the world of Bhagvat Gita, which would undoubtedly reduce our stress and bring us the much needed peace of mind.