The Bhagavad Gita is not only tempting for its esoteric concepts but also applicable beyond limits of time and lucid in understanding, writes Radhanath Swami Maharaj
The humanly quest for knowledge, survival and pleasure has seen countless books produced in the history of mankind. Apart from being in the bestseller list, some of these books have been truly revolutionary. Among all the books, one book holds truly a special place as being designated as such by Great Adi Shankaracharya.
He says, Eko Shastro Devaki Putra Gitam: Let there be one scripture the song by the son of Devaki, Krishna, and that scripture is Bhagavad Gita. Bhagavad Gita has the knowledge about the absolute truth in his features as a personal reality, localised Paramatma and all-pervading Brahman. It gives knowledge about living entities, the material creation, demigods, the law of Karma, time factor, the three modes of nature, food, lifestyle, nature of mind, and so on.
Krishna himself declares this knowledge to be the best knowledge, knowing which nothing in this world remains to be known since one comes to know Lord Krishna as root cause of everything and even everything being made of his different energies.
As the annual Gita Jayanti was celebrated recently, it is important to understand its glory so that we can truly appreciate it from the hearts and even apply the teachings of Gita in our lives. The special characteristics of Bhagavad Gita are enlisted to bring forth glory of Bhagavad Gita.
Oldest but fresh, and appealing even now
The Bhagavad Gita is not only a multi-millennial classic and tempting for its esoteric concepts but also fresh being applicable beyond limits of time and lucid in understanding. Sages from the past ages to modern scientists, philosophers and politicians like Einstein, Emerson, Thoreau, Huxley, Hesse, Mahatma Gandhi have notably appreciated the glory of Bhagavad Gita.
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi gifted a copy of Gita to Japanese emperor and glorified it with words “Because I don’t think that I have anything more to give [than Bhagavad Gita] and the world also does not have anything more to get than this.”
Comprehensive but distinctive
It’s not only comprehensive to accommodate all levels of understanding of divinity to shelter everyone as per their level and desire of practice but it’s distinctive in terms of presenting the highest understanding of this divinity as a personal God for those who are willing to go for the ultimate.
The Bhagavad Gita discusses Karma yoga, Gyan yoga, Ashtanga yoga to guide practitioners attracted to one these paths and help them advance.
It also proposes various levels of spiritual practice based on the levels of people’s spiritual advancement [BG 12.8-12], but in the end it concludes with a clarion call of full-hearted surrender abandoning all other processes to the personality of Godhead with an assurance of deliverance of surrendered soul to the perfection.
Lofty but practical
It not only provides an intellectually convincing understanding of lofty concepts of absolute reality and compels one to pursue spiritual life, but it provides a practical way for its achievement and love appeal made in it impels one for the path of Bhakti that is, connecting with personal God in loving service.
Many books appeal to mind and intelligence but fail to provide a practical method to achieve the goals mentioned in them. But Bhagavad Gita with its philosophical logic not only presents the progressive understanding of absolute reality but also the proposes practical path (for example, BG 9.26-27) which even could be practiced and perfected by rank and file order of human society as it is mentioned in BG 9.32.
Bhagavad Gita also contains practical teachings regarding type of food, lifestyle, work, charity, behavior, speech, and renunciation etc. conducive for practice of spiritual life.
Short and concise but broad and unrelenting
It’s short and concise to include what all it needs to know and perfect the life still it’s very broad and unrelenting since it describes the unlimited personality of Godhead. The speaker of Gita, Krishna says in BG 7.2 “by knowing this knowledge there shall remain nothing further to be known.”
In 700 verses of Gita, Krishna gives complete knowledge needed to know about the spiritual perfection. Understanding of this knowledge leads one to practice the spiritual culture discussed in it, But since absolute truth is without any cessation and omnipresent, the realisation of it from Bhagavad Gita is always progressive.
As Krishna says in Gita 10.40: “O mighty conqueror of enemies, there is no end to My divine manifestations. What I have spoken to you is but a mere indication of My infinite opulence.”
The writer is a Spiritual Guru at International Society for Krishna Consciousness