"When I read the Bhagavad-Gita and reflect about how God created this universe everything else seems so superfluous." ~ Albert Einstein
Gita for children
Gita for children
To ponder before you read the today's Sloka...
This holy book teaches us how to live happily in the world. It is an ancient holy book of Hindu Dharma (also known as Sanātana Dharma or Hinduism), but it can be understood and followed by people of any faith. The Gita has eighteen (18) chapters and a total of only 700 verses. Anyone can be helped by daily practice of only a few of its teachings. The word ‘Bhagavad’ means God or The Supreme Lord, Bhagavān in Sanskrit. ‘Gita’ means song. Thus The Bhagavad-Gita means the Song of God or the Sacred Song, because it was sung by Bhagavān Shri Krishna himself. Here is the introduction to the Gita: In ancient times there was a king who had two sons, Dhritarāshtra and Pāndu. The former was born blind; therefore, Pāndu inherited the kingdom. Pāndu had five sons. They were called the Pāndavas. Dhritarāshtra had one hundred sons. They were called the Kauravas. Duryodhana was the eldest of the Kauravas. After the death of king Pāndu, his eldest son, Yudhisthira, became the lawful King. Duryodhana was very jealous. He also wanted the kingdom. The kingdom was divided into two halves between the Pāndavas and the Kauravas. Duryodhana was not satisfied with his share. He wanted the entire kingdom for himself. He tried several evil plots to kill the Pāndavas and take away their kingdom. Somehow he took over the entire kingdom of the Pāndavas and refused to give it back without a war. All peace talks by Lord Krishna and others failed, so the big war of Mahābhārata could not be avoided. The Pāndavas didn’t want to fight, but they had only two choices: fight for their right because it was their duty or run away from war and accept defeat for the sake of peace and nonviolence. Arjuna, one of the five Pāndava brothers, faced this choice in the battlefield. He had to choose between fighting the war and killing his most revered guru, who was on the other side; his very dear friends, close relatives, and many innocent warriors; or running away from the battlefield to be peaceful and nonviolent. The entire eighteen chapters of the Gita are the talk between confused Arjuna and his best friend, mentor and cousin, Lord Krishna --- an incarnation of God --- on the battlefield of Kurukshetra near New Delhi, India, about 5,100 years ago. This conversation was reported to the blind king, Dhritarāshtra, by his charioteer, Sanjay. It is recorded in the great epic, Mahābhārata. All lives, human or nonhuman, are sacred, and nonviolence or Ahimsā is one of the most basic principles of Hinduism. So when Lord Krishna advises Arjuna to get up and fight, this may confuse you about the principle of Ahimsā if you don’t keep in mind the background of the war of Mahābhārata. This spiritual talk between the Supreme Lord, Krishna, and His devotee-friend, Arjuna, occurs not in a temple, a lonely forest, or on a mountain top, but on a battlefield on the eve of a war. Metaphysically, the 'Song of God' is written in the form of a dialogue between Sri Krishna and his friend and disciple Arjuna. This Krishna is the Divine One, the 'Lord who abides within the heart of all beings'. He represents the basic Indian religious concept that all existence is a manifestation of God, and that God exists in all beings as the innermost Self. In every heart Sri Krishna is hidden, and when the veil of ignorance is withdrawn, we hear the very voice of God. In the Gita Sri Krishna openly declares Himself to be one with Brahman, the Infinite Self. Thus Sri Krishna as the historical personage has but a secondary importance.
And Arjuna, the disciple is typically human, being neither saint nor a sinner, but a struggling soul seeking to escape from grief and sorrow. He is a man of action, a fighter - a man living in the world, but confused as to his duty and true meaning and goal in life. Like many of us he is eager to find a way to peace and freedom.
What does the Gita contain? According to swami Ranganathananda: "The Gita summarizes the essential teachings of Vedanta and presents them in a popular manner. That is why it has become the scripture of the vast masses in India (and now also abroad!). When we study the Gita, we are not merely studying Upanishadic philosophy, but also the ethical implications of that philosophy."
It provides ethical guidance with reference to our everyday life. And lastly, the Gita for the first time introduces the concept of four Yogas, to name - Jnana, Dhyana, Karma, and Bhakti to realize higher truth in our life.