ॐ पार्थाय प्रतिबोधितां भगवता नारायणेन स्वयं
व्यासेन ग्रथितां पुराणमुनिना मध्येमहाभारतम्।
अम्ब त्वामनुसन्दधामि भगवद्गीते भवद्वेषिणीम्॥
om pārthāya pratibodhitāṁ bhagavatā nārāyaṇena svayaṁ
vyāsena grathitāṁ purāṇamuninā madhyemahābhāratam |
amba tvāmanusandadhāmi bhagavadgīte bhavadveṣiṇīm ||
O Mother Goddess! O Bhagavad Gītā, taught by Lord Nārāyaṇa himself in consideration of Arjuna, the son of Pṛthā (Kuntī). Faithfully collected and related by the ancient Sage Vyāsa (and inserted) in the midst of the Mahābhārata, composed of eighteen chapters outpooring out the nectar of non-duality. The destroyer of the life of becoming. O Mother Goddess, I invoke you again and again.
Gītā Jayantī is the anniversary of the text Śrīmad Bhagavad Gītā, the glorious song of the great Lord, celebrated on the eleventh day of the light fortnight of the month of Mārgaśīrṣa (November-December) of the Hindu calendar.
The Bhagavad Gītā is part of the great epic Mahābhārata, compiled by the Ṛṣi Veda Vyāsa, having been produced in the form of a dialogue between Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa and the warrior Arjuna.
Carrying within itself the essence of the Vedas (revealed scriptures of the Vedic tradition), the Bhagavad Gītā addresses how to live human life, pointing out its purpose and the means to achieve it. In this dialogue, the warrior Arjuna represents humanity, as his dilemmas involving suffering and the resulting confusion are experienced by all human beings. His message, therefore, is for humanity.
It is a beautiful text, which offers a panorama that the entire search for self-realization culminates in being one with Īśvara (the cause of everything). In its lines, all aspects mentioned in the Upaniṣads (texts from the end of the Vedas that aim to reveal non-duality) are present and accessible to the contemporary intellect. The message is timeless and the language used, under the guidance of a traditional teacher, brings clarity to the reality of the Self.
The story that serves as the background for the teaching portray a war between cousins, in which Arjuna knows he is on the side of dharma (that which is right), while his cousins, kauravas, are on the side of adharma (that which is not correct) as a result of your actions.
According to the scriptures, the Kṣatriyas (classes of leaders and warriors) have four means of resolving a conflict, to be applied in a certain order. The last resort is punishment, in this case, war. With no choice, war in the name of establishing dharma was inevitable in that context.
On the opposing side, Arjuna recognizes his guru and grandfather, realizing that this is a war against his own family. As a human being and identified with his family, strong emotions cloud the warrior’s intellect, causing him suffering and making him see everything in reverse. With no way out and without hope, he surrenders to Śrī Kṛṣṇa and asks for his help.
Thus, as in many Upaniṣads, the disciple surrenders to the Guru, ready to serve and able to receive his lessons. With a smile on his lips, Śrī Kṛṣṇa begins his teaching in the second chapter from the 11th verse. This chapter is taken as the synthesis of the entire teaching. Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s smile demonstrates how the difference between suffering or not suffering from a delicate situation does not depend on the situation itself, but on the attitude towards it. This attitude is governed by wisdom or lack of it. Knowledge makes a difference in our lives, as it leads to the appropriate attitude towards any situation, freeing us from the feeling of being a victim.
At the outset, Śrī Kṛṣṇa presents a general picture of what will be further elaborated throughout the text. The scriptures usually take this approach, first presenting the content and then developing it, which is fundamental to arouse interest and highlight the importance of what is being passed, making the interested party remain attentive to listen. In this first moment, then, Karma-yoga (action with appropriate attitude), Bhakti-yoga (devotion) and Jñāna-yoga (yoga of knowledge) are presented by Bhagavān as the means for liberation from suffering that represents saṁsara (the wheel of deaths and rebirths, the life of the constant becoming different from what it is).
It is important to emphasize that the mentioned means are not alternatives to each other, but stages of the search for freedom, being adopted according to the personal evolution of each individual.
The problem of saṁsara is cognitive, due to ignorance of reality. Ignorance can only be removed by knowledge. Therefore, the only resource is the path of knowledge. To assimilate knowledge, the mind needs to be refined. Such refinement takes place through the practice of Karma-yoga and Upāsanā (meditation whose object is prescribed by the scriptures, which can be a deity or Īśvara like the cosmos, etc).
Karma-yoga consists of performing actions with the proper attitude, it takes effect when we propose to perform actions in order to contribute to the order of dharma, which is Īśvara. Swami Dayananda Saraswati placed great emphasis on converting the consumer to the contributor. We are consumers since birth, after all, everything is given to us, from the air we breathe, the body through which the world is experienced, the family that is the basis of the individual and even opportunities. The current mentality, reinforced by the economic model and the materialistic lifestyle, takes us far from cultivating emotional and intellectual maturity. We remain consumers and slaves of desires and aversions.
In the third chapter, Śrī Kṛṣṇa presents how everything in the world works in cycles and how each being has a role to play. As we understand this and the fallacy of selfishness, we begin to contribute and serve more and more. We expand the heart and what once seemed big and tormented the mind loses relevance and falls into its proper place, within the order. Everything follows an order. Physiological order, biological order, psychological order. And the order is Īśvara. With that clarity, we can validate ourselves and see ourselves in order.
Understanding order and understanding that every action brings a reaction, any situation in our lives is seen as a result of that order, which is Īśvara. In this perspective, we are able to objectively and often gracefully receive all the facts about life, the past, the present and a relative calm and confidence is established in relation to the future. The more we practice this wisdom, the insistence and resistance cease, and then a relative peace occurs, mental purification takes place. The internal enemies in the form of attachments and aversions loosen their grip and we become able to move with a more subtle and refined mind towards Moskṣa, freedom.
Śrī Kṛṣṇa also emphasizes the importance of devotion in the pursuit of knowledge. Devotion provides emotional support and security for the quest, as well as a solid feeling of trust. In the Vedānta tradition, it is said that a person needs to convert from being dependent on the world to being dependent on Īśvara, in order to depend only on Self, the true Self that is revealed by the scriptures. This is the teaching of Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa: the truth behind the world, the individual and God, which is Brahman, the absolute reality that is you.
The message of the Gītā is presented through the first and last words of its text, dharma and mama. Mama dharma. Mama dharma, under the vision of Karma-yoga, means doing your duty with the proper attitude. Already according to Jñāna-Yoga, mama dharma reveals our nature, which is fullness, existence and consciousness.
May we then celebrate, thank and honor Bhagavad Gītā, the essence of the Vedas, which brings us so many insights so that there is more and more clarity between our walls. May we have an attitude of reverence before this text, so that its teaching blesses us and so that we can live under its vision and wisdom, freed.
Om sad gurave namaḥ _/\_
Written by Maline Ribeiro