Sri Krishna Tells The Gita

Those persons should embrace the life of renunciation (monasticism) in whom impressions of the past lives have created such attraction. But other persons who have no such tendency, persons in whom the past impressions of sense enjoyment persist, such aspirants - sadhakas - are not yet fit to take to life of sanyasins. Such persons actually, after some progress on the path of total renunciation -sanyasa, may get entangled in a tamasic inactivity - lazy life of hypocrisy. Such people do more harm than good to the cause of spirituality, religion, and social progress.

For such people, which are in majority at a given point of time, Sri Krishna advocates Nishkam Karma Yoga - Yoga of selfless action - as the ideal path to realize the Truth. Allotted work done without motives, the work done without expecting or thinking about its result, purifies the mind that makes the person gradually fit to see the value of reason and benefit of renouncing the work itself!. Unless all mental desires and tendencies to enjoy sense pleasures are controlled and rooted out, a person does not become fit for final stage of Liberation. Yoga makes the person fit through action, devotion, contemplation, meditation , and discrimination to sharpen his reason, develop intuitive power of acquiring knowledge, and to transcend the mind itself!

Theory of Incarnation

In chapter IV, verse 7 and 8, Sri Krishna says:

"Arjuna, whenever there is decline of righteousness, and unrighteousness is in the ascendant, then I body Myself forth,"
"For the protection of the virtuous, for the destruction of evil-doers, and for establishing Dharma (righteousness) on a firm footing, I am born from age to age."

This concept of Divine Incarnation - Avatar - is at the very root of religiosity prevalent all over India. This hope that the Lord will come to the help and rescue of His devotees, and corrupt and greedy would be punished; that the Truth alone would prevail in the end and not the untruth, has had kept the flame of spirituality burning through the dark ages of foreign aggression and servitude. One should understand that Dharma here means attempting to seek our own higher self. From animal tendencies to Divine plane through human growth, this is the journey. Materialism, excessive involvement in sense enjoyment, and identification of ourselves as body-mind complex means 'unrighteousness is in the ascendant'. This excess involvement in senses means evil, greed, and corruption. Sri Krishna shows us the path: How to rise above these senses and transcend them to realize our higher state of consciousness - Atman.

Gradually the discussion centres around the real nature of man and paths to seek the same. Says Sri Krishna, "O Arjuna, you are not this body, you are not this mind; you are ever pure, unchanging eternal Self, Atman. This Atman is covered with delusion/illusion of ignorance and comes to identify itself as body-mind complex. Therefore, when you say 'you will kill them, or get killed by them, you are actually telling a lie. The Atman is never killed, nor does it kill anybody."

This body is like worn out clothes which the Atman changes as we change our old garments!

ThenSri Krishna goes on elaborating the ways to realize self as Self by undertaking various spiritual disciplines. By proper control of senses, by way of renunciation and discrimination, and by constant practice it is possible to steady and control the mind and realize the higher Reality. The same end can be reached by Yoga of action and Yoga of devotion.

In chapter XI there is a wonderful description of Lord Krishna revealing Himself to Arjuna as "Virat" - all pervading Reality. This Universal or Cosmic Form of Sri Krishna relates to three aspects of 1) shristi - creation, 2) sthiti - maintenance, and 3) vinash - destruction of all the worlds. The terrifying aspect of this Self makes Arjuna shudder with fear, and hence the Lord also reveals His most beautiful form that is full of bliss, beatitude, and serenity.

Chapter XII lays stress on the path of devotion - Bhakti Yoga - and emphasizes qualifications and virtues of a Bhakta.

Thus the Gita is a summary of all knowledge contained in the Vedas and Upanishads. The Gita is translated in many languages including the English. Many learned scholars and spiritually illumined souls have written commentaries on this Universal Gospel of Perennial Philosophy. Depending upon the priority and emphasis, some advocate Jnana-Yoga as the essence of Gita, while majority of the people thinks that the Gita expounds doctrine of Karma Yoga at its best.

In recent times Swami Vivekananda has commented that the Gita exhorts everyone of us to arise, awake, and fight our unmanliness so that we emerge as active and strong Karma Yogis. We become true spiritual seekers to realize our true nature as Atman and thereby do immense good to the world.

In the last chapter XVIII, Sri Krishna asks Arjuna, "Are your doubts cleared? O Arjuna are you freed from the delusory ideas regarding your true nature?"

And the grateful Arjuna, full of bliss with recent realization of the true knowledge declares:

"Yes, my lord. My ignorance has vanished. Destroyed is my delusion, and I have gained my memory through Thy Grace. O steadfast, I am firm; my doubts are gone. Thy will be done."

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