Hare Krishna Friends,
Yesterday was the day Sri Krishna spoke Bhagavad Gita also called Gita Jayanti. Here is some FAQ on Gita. Share this article with as many people that way you can remind them about their forgotten heritage.
Bhagavad-gita means "the song of God." It was spoken
by Lord Krishna to His friend and eternal servant Arjuna, one of the
five Pandava brothers, the heroes of the epic Mahabharata. They were
spoken 3,134 years before the birth of Christ on a battlefield about 80
km. north of present New Delhi in India. That sacred place called
Kuruksetra, still exists today.
What is the Bhagavad Gita?
Bhagavad Gita (BG) was spoken by Sri Krishna to His friend and
disciple, Arjuna at the beginning of the epic war, Mahabharata. BG
provides the concise conclusion of the millions of verses in all the
Vedic scriptures. In just eighteen chapters containing seven hundred
verse, Sri Krishna answers all questions about the duty of the living
entity. In glorifying the BG, Lord Shiva says in the Gita Mahatmya
(Padma Purana) that it is sufficient to lead one to liberation.
Teachings of Bhagavad Gita
Five essays on teachings of Gita. You can see them here
How should one read the BG?
BG should be studied in the same mood as it was heard by Arjuna. Sri
Krishna declares that He is revealing this most confidential knowledge
to Arjuna because he is not envious and He is a friend. So one must read
and understand the BG in the mood of at least theoretically accepting
the position of Krishna supreme position as compared to our own. This
knowledge is never revealed to one who reads it in a challenging and
speculative mood. That is why its called greatest of greatest secrets.
Because this knowledge is the confidential essence of all Vedic
Owing to the universal message in the BG, many
people take to it as an instrument to propagate their ideas and hence
they misconstrue to suit their conception. In order to protect the
trusting people from this kind of cheating, Sri Krishna stresses the
importance of Paramapara (disciplic succession) and Guru (spiritual
master) in receiving the knowledge of the BG. This ensures to keep the
Who should read the BG?
BG is often referred to as the “Handbook for humanity”. Never in the BG
has Sri Krishna restricted the scope of the BG to Hindus or Indians. It
is completely non-denominational, meant for any one inquiring about his
reason for existence. Indeed many people following Christianity or
Islam get a much better perspective of their own religion after reading
the BG and are able t o follow their religions with greater conviction.
What is Purpose of the BG?
BG was spoken to guide the conditioned soul on the path of the
spiritual advancement. It is presented as principle and details. The
dominating principle of the BG is to develop God consciousness. In the
details, Sri Krishna explains three primary ways of doing this and then
further expands on these paths. He then relates them to each other and
brings forth the single most effective path for returning back to God
Are there different paths of yoga?
paths are explained as yoga. The Sanskrit word “yoga” means connecting
to the Supreme Lord, and it is in this context that the word yoga is
used in the BG.
The three paths given by Sri Krishna are Karma yoga,
Jnana yoga and Bhakti yoga. The first six chapters primarily discuss
Karma yoga, liberation by performing prescribed activities. The last six
chapters primarily talk about Jnana yoga, liberation by worshiping the
Lord through one’s intelligence. Ensconced between these two
“protective” covers, like a pearl in the oyster, in the middle six
chapters, Krishna reveals the most confidential of all knowledge, Bhakti
yoga, the path of pure, unalloyed devotional service. He declares this
to be the highest, the easiest and the fastest path to Him, and for one
who is fortunate to embark on it, the binding illusions of Maya are
dispelled in no time.
What is Karma yoga?
person situated in Karma yoga executes one’s prescribed duties. These
duties are as prescribed by the Varnashrama system created By Krishna
through the Vedas. According to one’s ability and inclination, a person
may acquires a particular varna. He may become a Brahaman (teacher,
guide), Ksatriya (administrator, warrior), Vaishya (merchant, farmer) or
Sudra (worker). According to his situation he lives in one of the four
ashrams: Brahamacari (student), Grahastha (married), Vanaprastha
(retired) and Sannyasa (detached). The eight fold Varnashram system is
created to allow one to be aware of his prescribed duties and execute
them properly. It is important to note here is that the BG stresses that
a varna is acquired by one’s ability and inclination, never by birth.
So in the BG, there is no support of the “caste-system” prevalent in
India. The Varnashram system appears naturally in all societies over the
Performing prescribed duties will earn a person much
pious credit, but it will also continue to bind him to the material
world. So Karma can be “sakarma” (done in anticipation of enjoying its
fruits) or “nishkarma” (detached from the results). In both cases a
person is attached to performing the activity. However, when a person
performs activities only for the pleasure of the Lord, he has reached
the stage of Bhakti. For instance Sadhna (japa, arati, kirtan) are
activities performed with no material motives, simply to glorify or
remember the Lord. Thus Karma yoga can be used to elevate one self to
the position of Bhakti yoga by first performing prescribed activities,
then renouncing the fruits of the activities to Krishna and finally by
renouncing the activity in itself to Krishna.
What is Jnana yoga?
the Jnana section Krishna elaborates about the five factors of
existence: Isavara (God), Jivatma (Soul), Kala (Time), Karma (actions)
and Prakriti (Nature). He explains that while Kala, Prakriti, Jiva and
Isavara are eternal, Karma is not. As long as one is involved in
fruitive activities, the cycle of Karma, performed in one of the three
modes of material Nature (goodness, passion, ignorance) is binding. For
every action, good or bad, there is a reaction. This cycle can only be
broken by performing devotional service, since that does not have any
reactions, good or bad. In this stage the person transcends the material
plane of existence and enters into the spiritual realm.
When Krishna explains the path of spiritual
advancement by knowledge, Arjuna gets confused between the Karma
(action) and Jnana (inaction). Krishna explains that one must strive for
activities performed in knowledge of Him, which will ultimately lead to
Bhakti. Philosophy without faith is speculation, and faith without
philosophy is rituals. The two must complement each other. Thus, Krishna
once again stresses that the ultimate goal of all transcendentalists is
Him. They may reach Him directly by Bhakti or first reach Bhakti
through Karma or Jnana.
What is Bhakti yoga?
path of devotion is described as the most confidential part of Gita. It
is described as the “elevator” approach to Krishna as opposed to all
the other “staircase” paths. The essence of the Bhakti yoga is
summarized by Sri Krishna in Chapter 9, Verse 34, as follows: “Engage
your mind always in thinking of Me, become My devotee, offer obeisances
to Me and worship Me. Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will
come to Me.”
This verse, often considered to be the summary verse
of the entire BG, contains the essence of the existence of a spirit
soul. In the material world, trapped in the illusory sense of
identifying with the body and its extensions, a spirit soul remains
forever bewildered by the duality of existence. However by simply
surrendering to Krishna, understanding Him to be the original, primeval
cause of all causes and thus worshiping Him without any desires of
material benefit, one can easily go back to Him.
Bhakti yoga does not mean inactivity. Indeed a
bhakta is most active, for he sees all his activities now in relation to
the Supreme. But he is detached from the activity and the fruits of the
activity, neither happy in success nor distressed in failure,
understanding that all this is ultimately for Krishna and coming from
Why has Krishna given alternatives?
confusing aspect of the BG is the fact that while acknowledging the
superiority of Bhakti yoga. Krishna spends considerable time talking
about Jnana and Karma yoga. He even speaks briefly about the eight fold
astanga yoga process followed by the mystics. For many people this is
very confusing if not apparently contradictory.
In reality. Krishna is offering some thing for every
one according to their levels of advancement and inclination. As God,
He does not interfere with the free will of a living entity. But as the
most compassionate well wisher He wants every one to leave this material
world of misery and return to the original spiritual abode.
So, for a person attracted to action, there is Karma
yoga. For the intellectual there is Jnana yoga. For the mystic there is
astanga yoga. The BG meets the person at the level they are in and
gradually elevates them to the platform where they become qualified to
execute Bhakti yoga, pure devotional service. A very few fortunate
souls, by the causeless mercy of Krishna and His devotees, are able to
take directly to Bhakti, and for them the way back to Godhead is quick
Which Gita edition is the best?
many editions of the Bhagavad Gita have been published in the world,
most scholars agree that only the "Bhagavad Gita As It Is" truly
represents the words of Krishna as they are understood by Krishna's
sincere followers. Indeed, although many persons had translated the text
before Srila Prabhupada presented his book, the study of these other
versions had not resulted in anyone becoming a devotee of Lord
Krishna-which is the whole point of the Gita. Since one may judge a
thing by the results it brings, the result that thousands of people have
transformed their lives by devotion to Krishna owing to the publication
and distribution of the Bhagavad Gita As It Is. His Divine Grace A.C.
Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada has made the science of Krsna
consciousness available to those outside of India and has shown that
Vedic knowledge is divine revelation to bring us to the supreme goal,
pure loving devotional service of Krishna as passed down in a parampara
system.Courtesy: www.absolutetruth.in - Don't settle for anything less