The teachings of the Bhagavad Gita are as simple as the air we take in and at the same time as profound as the cosmos around us. It is appropriate that Sanskrit serves as the medium of expression. There is elegance as well as elasticity. All the same the simplicity of its mode does not preclude philosophical subtleties. The Bhagavad Gita is easy to understand. A faithful translation into a known language is all that is required. Swami Chidbhavananda explains meaning and teachings of the Bhagavad Gita in following stanzas:
In the great cosmic plan of action play your part as a hero. Wake up to the reality of this world. Fight the battle of life. Fear nothing. Do not falter in your duty. At the same time be not a slave to duty either. Perform your duty for its own sake. It is by working in freedom that you rise to realm of worklessness. To a knowing one, duty such as warfare is as sacred as worship in a sanctury. In the process of imparting Self-knowledge the Bhagavad Gita has a uniqueness and a sublimity of its own.
The strong and the virile alone are fit for a life of great consequence. Achievements both here and hereafter are born of competence and manly action. Strength nurtures life. Weakness wears it away. Potency drives away disease; debility aggravates it. Virtue and righteousness are the outcome of strength. Vice and wickedness have their origin in weakness. Cowardice creates crookedness; it is feeble that resort to freedom, and its opposite to bondage.
The utility of the Gita is equally all ranging. It is an indispensable guide to a novice who has just commenced his spiritual career. Even to an adept who is at the proximity to the goal it has a message to deliver. Life both in its secular and sacred aspects gets abundantly enriched by the application of the tenets of the Gita. For these reasons a status is conferred on the Bhagavad Gita to that equal of the ancient Upanishads.
The Bhagavad Gita does not exhort anyone to be a dualist, a qualified monist or a monist. "Wake up to your supreme consciousness. Be established in your divine nature. You are omnipotent in your sphere. Perform your duty with ease and spontaneity. You have not come into this world to drag on a wretched exixtence. There is an inviolable and holy relationship between you and this world. It is yoga to make this relationship operative. Do achieve this in a magnanimous manner. Through effective functioning let all your faculties pay homage to your ever-expanding consciousness. As the blossom sends forth its fragrance, let your love become all embracing and inspiring. Like the blazing sun, may your intellect throw lustre on all that you connect.
There is no karma independent of the will. Man wills to walk, to eat, to sleep, to wake up and so on, and as a result action ensues. The gross manifestation of the will, according to the Bhagavad Gita, is action. The entire creation is the manifestation of the cosmic will. All forms of will resolve themselves ultimately into the will to live. It is the innate desire to preserve life that transforms itself into innumerable activities. Existence, not extinction is the essential nature of the soul. God is life. Souls have emanated from God. So they attempt to assert life in the midst of the seeming extermination imposed on them by the play of Nature. Preserving life in the face of death and seeking permanence in the midst of perdition, are the workings of the will to assert existence.
Feelings, according to the Bhagavad Gita, is concomitant with life. Like and dislike, friendship and enmity, fulfilment and frustration, admiration and support are all its negative expressions. The positive aspects of emotion promote growth and evolution. Negative ones retard. To sublimate emotion to the highest pitch is the summum bonum of life.
The Bhagavad Gita offers inspiration to all cults and creeds, points out the harmony among them, and itself remains supremely above them all.
The Bhagavad Gita is from beginning to end a grand commentary on the sublime statement - Thou art That. There are eighteen chapters in the Gita. They are conventionally called the Three Sixes - the trisatkam. The first six chapters elucidate the word thou in the maha-vakyam. The word stands for the Jivatman or the individual soul with its potentialities and possibilities. The seeming limitations of the individual soul, and how they could be overcome to the point of perfection are fully delineated here. Chapters seven to twelve form the second satkam. This portion deals with the word That indicating God or the Ultimate Reality. What is called Nature is none other than that Reality contacted through the senses and the intellect. The Self that is immanent in Nature, that which transcends Nature and that which is the Absolute - all these are the same Cosmic Personality viewed from different grades of intutions. The third satkam contains the last six chapters. The predicate art gets explained in this portion. The inviolable relationship between the Cosmic Reality and the invidividual soul is well established in this part of the Bhagavad Gita. In this manner the three aspects of the maha-vakyam have an equal number of chapters allotted for the elucidation of each of them. Giving equal weight to all the three is another speciality of the Gita. Indeed it seems that the Bhagavad Gita has been divinely planned solely for the purpose of the exposition of the maha-vakyam.
Will, emotion and cognition are the three aspects of the phenomenon of the mind. Naught exists in psyche beyond the realm of these three functions. A healthy and wholesome mind has a universal value. Nothing on earth or in heaven can compare with a fully evolved mind. He owns everything who owns a fully developed mind. A harmonious development of the will, emotion and cognition goes to constitute a perfect mind. The Bhagavad Gita has laid emphasis on this all important factor. Because of its masterly exposition of all these absorbing issues of human life, the Bhagavad Gita has this unique status of the Scripture Universal.
The plan and purpose of the Bhagavad Gita is to evolve out of man, a personality that is perfect from all points of view. A strong body and a virile mind form the material of which such a personality is built. Efficiency to the core is the criterion of a powerful personality. It is efficiency that makes character. To do good and make others do good is possible only to the powerful in body and mind. The next great factor in the formation of personality is love. All living beings are endowed with love, though the degree of it may vary. And this love can be purified as well as intensified. From pure love emanates sweetness in all its excellence. It has power to bind all beings in affable unity. The third and final factor is intellect. It may be equated with the broad blazing sun, which reveals everything in its true light. But for the intellect, the higher qualities of things remain unrecognized. It is the intellect again that guides being to right action. To a person endowed with an efficient hand, with a loving heart and with a clear head nothing more remains to be added. He becomes a complete personality verging on Divinity. Perfection marks him for its own. A harmonious development of the hand, heart and head is patent in such a personality.
The Bhagavad Gita is the perfect guide to those who aspire to build a perfect personality. Every student of the Gita is a potential Arjuna.
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