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Seeking one’s spiritual destination

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Seeking one’s spiritual destination

The Gita has timeless lessons that can help us understand our existence  and guide us towards our soul’s destination, says Radhanath Swami

Srimad Bhagavad Gita is one of the most revered and well-studied scriptures of India. The Gita is known for its philosophical depth and practical relevance in day-to-day life. It is the greatly enlightening philosophical song sung by Krishna to instruct the bewildered Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. This day on which Krishna rendered His teachings is commemorated as Gita Jayanti. Many people in general and the devotees of Lord Krishna in particular consider studying The Gita as foundational to one’s understanding of life in this world and beyond.

Five Features of The Gita

“Complete knowledge includes knowledge of the phenomenal world, the spirit behind it, and the source of both of them.” The five truths that embody the teachings of Bhagavad Gita are isvara (God), jiva (living beings), prakriti (material nature), kala (time), and karma (activities). A systematic analysis of these five truths enlightens the readers in material and numinous facts updating them with an all-inclusive understanding of life. Highlighting these five aspects, the eighteen chapters of The Gita comprehensively present the knowledge of the soul, Karma-yoga, Jnana-yoga, Astanga yoga, Bhakti-yoga, the modes of material nature, Virat-rupa and so on.

Three Sections of the Gita

The eighteen chapters of the Gita are divided into three sections.

Karma yoga: The first six chapters together are considered karma-yoga section. It teaches one on doing one’s duty without any desires (nishkama). Lord Krishna explains the eternal nature of the soul and the processes of working without getting entangled by that work. Jnana and Astanga yogas also appear in this part.

Bhakti yoga: The middle six chapters that discuss bhakti yoga are considered the purpose or the essence of The Gita. Bhakti is performing loving devotional service to God by which one returns to His abode to be with Him and serve Him eternally. These chapters also describe Lord Krishna’s supremacy and superintendence over everything, and the different kinds of worshippers who approach Him and attain Him.

Jnana yoga: The last six chapters discuss jnana yoga, further analyzing in more detail the first six chapters. Lord Krishna explains the difference between the body and soul and the Supersoul and how the embodied soul is influenced by the three modes of material nature, namely sattva (goodness), rajas (passion) and tamas (ignorance).

Bhakti yoga in middle

When a king is travelling with his great entourage, he has thousands of people in front of him and thousands of people behind him, all playing drums, trumpets, ridding in horses, elephants, etc. But the king, the most important person, is hidden in the middle. Similarly, the Bhakti chapters of The Gita are put in the middle because they are confidential. We don’t want to immediately take our most valuable secret truths and tell them before a stranger. When a person is a little intimate we can tell him a little secret. Thus after some fundamental knowledge is explained in the initial chapters of The Gita, Krishna explains the Bhakti-yoga. Karma-yoga and jnana yoga without bhakti are considered lifeless. Without bhakti the others will not bring any results either.

Conclusion of the Gita

Towards the end of His teachings, Krishna declares that He will offer complete protection from all sinful reactions to everyone who takes shelter of Him. And He also mentions that one who spreads these teachings of The Gita becomes very dear to Him. This Gita Jayanti, let us attempt to learn and imbibe the teachings of The Gita and to the best of our ability let us inspire others to learn these timeless teachings of Lord Krishna that give us direction in this life and also take us to a wonderful destination in the next one.

The writer is an ISKCON spiritual guru 




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