is not just a religious book. Nor is it
just a scientific treatise. It is a comprehensive world view. It does not
reject spirituality as does Communism. Nor does it deny the realities of
worldly existence and material needs. It balances the dual needs of
spiritualism and materialism.
For Individual and
unique feature of the Gita is
that it does not concentrate solely on individual 'Moksha'. It seeks to offer itself as a guide to society as well.
The symbiotic relationship between the individual and the society is recognized
by this book. The Gita exhorts the individual to
carry out his duty - ‘Karma’ -
so that it serves himself as well as the society around him. There is no scope
for spiritual enlightenment of an individual who turns away from society and
the material world.
provides a multifaceted outlook.
Different 'darshanas' reveal
different paths to spiritual enlightenment. The path of Action - Karma
Yoga, the path of Knowledge - Jnana
Yoga and the path of Devotion - Bhakti
Yoga. In the Gita all
these different methods are integrated. In this integrated approach, the
different facets of the individual are given due importance. Thus the Gita serves as a blueprint for overall personal development.
was delivered at a particular period of
time at Kurukshetra,
its relevance has not been limited by time or space. The battlefield of Kurukshetra
and the despair of Arjuna are phenomena
of eternal recurrence in the mind. The confusion and despair among the
present-day youth is similar to Arjuna's dejection. The weakness which drives
our people to suicide when confronted with the simplest of failures, the
withering away of ideology and ideals, the arrogance born out of ignorance, the
cynicism which rejects as hopeless every effort to reform the society are all
but manifestations of an inner despair. A feeling of hopelessness is apparent
in the face of the present-day youth who refuses to look at problems squarely
in the eye. Arjuna too was in such a predicament. The Bhagavad
which once saved Arjuna from his dire
predicament is the answer to the demoralization of the present generation.
starts with an exhortation against
weakness. It calls on Arjuna to abandon his despair as despair in no way suits
such a brave warrior. This psychological approach is relevant to the youth of
India who face a crisis of confidence and identity. It serves as a bulwark
against the weakness of spirit which prompts modern day Arjunas to abandon hope
and opt for the suicide solution.
Self-Sufficient Work Ethic
is not sufficient to reject despair. A positive alternative is required. Here
too, the Gita shows the way. Self-help
and self-sufficiency is the Gita approach.
It is not advisable to depend upon others for self-development. Each individual
and each society should develop by independent effort. What happens otherwise?
Each one becomes a burden to oneself and to others. Next time the Gita thus provides a model which cautions against the dependence
of the present-day youth on foreign help, goods or inspiration.
book calls on us to be independent and self- sufficient. Do your duty - it says
- each one has his own duty. Without this one cannot even support one's own
attitude of our youth which prompts them to desist from dirtying their hands by
an honest day's work, an attitude which makes him like the lazy way out. The Karma
Yoga is an answer to this destructive work ethic.
elaborates on the concept of duty. It
calls on us to fulfil our 'Karma' with an attitude of devotion - 'Yajna
Bhavam'. When the Karma
- duty - is done with an attitude of
devotion and for the society as a whole it becomes 'Yagna'. One who performs his duty, only for himself, misses this
exalted concept. In that case there is no devotion. Even when one cooks food
for only oneself, it is considered to be a sin by the Gita philosophy. The Gita calls
upon us to give the fruits of Karma to the society and to partake only what is essential for
oneself. Such a doer is free from all sin.
the doer is not free to accumulate all the fruits of his own labour. He can
take what is needed. Yet he is only a Trustee of the wealth. The owner is the Almighty. The owner is the Society. The doer deserves only the
remanents of his offerings. This relationship between Karma
and the fruits of Karma
is a quantum leap from the ideas of
surplus value and exploitation of labour as enunciated in this classical
communist/ capitalist dogmas.
the most striking part of the Gita philosophy
is the idea of Co-operative Development. The scripture rejects the idea that
conflict and competition are the methods of achieving the highest good. Instead
the emphasis is on co-operation. Competition ensures the survival of the
fittest. Yet, the vast majority is marginalized in this rat race. Co-operation
on the other hand ensures all-round development. Thus the Gita philosophy takes under its wings the society as a whole. If
all of us are but parts of the Almighty, then, is not co-operation the natural path of development?
Is not competitive conflict a denial of this holistic concept? Is it not denial
of Godliness? Rejecting the western concept of the survival of the fittest as
ungodly, the Gita emphasizes on the path of
spirituality with co-operative development. It details this idea of wealth
model of co-operative development is not confined to man alone. The
relationship between man and nature is also part of this model. The scripture
calls for co-operation, not just between man and man but between man and the
Devas. By 'Devas',
seeks to personify the force of nature.
This, it says, can be achieved through Yajna. Yajna i.e.
devotion should be according to the laws of nature. When we deviate from its
path, we tread through danger, as we go against nature itself. The
environmental destruction undertaken by the modern society in the name of
development is thus opposed to the teachings of the Gita.
The Gita shows
the golden mean which ensures the protection of environment along with the
pursuit of 'development'.
The Dharma of W ealth
is not against the creation of wealth or
the pursuit of material happiness. In fact it encourages wealth creation and
material enjoyment. But both activities should be based on 'Dharma' and aimed at 'Moksha'. In that context wealth and desire become divine.
wealth and desire are built on the ideals of Dharma and Moksha, luxury and competitive consumerism become meaningless. When desire,
and rage which stems from the denial of the object of desire predominate,
sinful actions result. The Bhagavad Gita condemns the trio - Kama, Krodha, Lobha. For, are not the conflict between individuals and nations
based on these sins? Does not these lead to suffering?
condemning this destructive path, the Gita offers
solace to the strays.
The sinner need not feel dejected. When one turns towards God one automatically
becomes cleansed. He becomes 'Dharmathma' and achieves eternal peace of mind. 'My devotee is never
destroyed' says Lord Krishna. 'Those who constantly meditate on myself will get
everything they need' the Lord promises.
is scientific to the core. The very
spirit of science is the freedom to seek, question, experiment and to accept
only if and when one is satisfied. The Gita too
accepts and encourages this scientific spirit. It does not call for accepting
its philosophy blindly. Nor does it want us to reject other teachings as
blasphemy. Even in the midst of the conflict of Kurukshetra the Lord urges
Arjuna to question. Afterwards Krishna reinforces the Gita philosophy with a demonstration of his own Eternal, all-
encompassing self - the 'Viswa Rupam'. Finally the Lord advises Arjuna to critically analyse
everything he (Krishna) has said and only then to adopt whatever he (Arjuna)
feels appropriate. No other holy scripture offers such intellectual freedom.
urges us to be critical of even the Vedas.
It is this scientific spirit which has maintained its relevance through this
yuga of science.
Convergence of EntitiesThe scripture is a guide for our daily life. It is not something put on a pedestal and light lamps to. It is not something you learn daily by heart and then put away. It is something you can live by. The Gita is not something you take up in the sunset of your life. It is something to guide through every stage of your multifaceted existence. Something which will give you material happiness and spiritual enlightenment.
essence, the Arjuna-Krishna dialogue is but a symbolic one. Arjuna is the
warrior. Krishna the philosopher. Arjuna is the doer. Krishna the guide. When
there is a convergence between two such entities there will be prosperity and
victory of justice. It is such a conference that is desired by everyone. The Gita shows us the path to such a convergence. This is the
greatest teaching of the Bhagavad Gita.