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A Glimpse Into the Bhagavad Gita, Part 1 (The Song Celestial) Thursday’s Homily for the Devout 10

Author:

Manatita is an esteemed author living in London, UK. He writes spiritual books, flash fiction and esoteric poetry, his favourite genre.

Lord Krishna and Arjuna

Lord Krishna and Arjuna

Introduction:

The Bhagavad Gita (The Song Celestial), or Song of the Transcendental Soul, is a tower of Spirituality and perhaps the most sacred book in Hinduism. It is also increasingly read by western devotees and scholars. The Gita is not a mere book, but the Light of Divinity in humanity.

The Gita is set on a battlefield and is a conversation between Sri Krishna and his beloved disciple Arjuna, a Kshatriya warrior and the main protagonist of the Pandavas and the tale itself. This wonderful, lofty and sublime epic, is filled with heroes of great valour, spirituality and virtues, from either side of the forces gathered together to fight their cause.

The Gita is an episode in the sixth book of the Mahabharata (Great or sublime India) and is six times the size of the Iliad and the Odyssey combined. The main story centres around two parties (actually cousins) of an ancestral kingdom.

There was tremendous discord or rivalry between the two parties, in which Sri Krishna – a divine incarnation or the descent of God in human form – tried to intercede and bring peace. The Battle of Kurukshetra is the war that resulted, when all acts of diplomacy failed.

Dhritarashtra, the blind King, had 100 sons, the eldest, Duryodhana, was evil incarnate and had a tremendous love of power. His father, the King, was also very fond of him. They were known as Kauravas. Pandu, Dhritarashtra’s younger half-brother, had five sons of which Arjuna was the main hero. They were known as Pandavas.

Yudhishthira, the eldest son of Pandu, was a model of righteousness and Light. As Dhritarashtra was blind, Yudhishthira was the natural heir to the throne. However, neither the blind King nor his first son was prepared to yield and although great heroes and Seers were brought in to make peace, the war could not be averted.

Sri Krishna appeared on the scene between the two parties, trying to talk peace but there was already a sense of impending doom and the war eventually happened.

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Quintessence of the Gita

The quintessence of the Gita is not the battle of Kurukshetra, but the spiritual conversation between Sri Krishna and Arjuna, as related by Sanjaya, an observer. He was given the sight of psychic inner vision by Vyasa, a Sage, to see the events as they happened and relate it to the blind King, even from a far distance.

As Christianity offers the Gospel of Christ to seekers, so too, the East offers the Gita of Sri Krishna to Hinduism. Yet the Gita is not bound to the East, but is ‘God’s Heart and man’s breath, God’s assurance and man’s promise. It teaches what is called the Sanatana Dharma (Eternal Religion or Truth is One), which is called by many names.

“Seven hundred verses are there in the Gita. About six hundred are the soul-stirring utterances from the divine lips of Lord Krishna, and the rest are from the crying, aspiring Arjuna, the clairvoyant and clairaudient Sanjaya, and the inquisitive Dhritarashtra” -Sri Chinmoy.

I would add that the King would have been given psychic vision by the Sage, but he had a sense of impending doom and did not wish to see his children being killed.

The Gita is said to be the greatest pride of the East … of India and the mother of all scriptures. It is lucid, powerful and authoritative in its teachings. It has eighteen chapters, each revealing a specific form of Yoga – the science that teaches us to become one with the transcendental soul (The Absolute Supreme). Here are some key teachings in the Gita:

The Four Yoga’s Plus:

  • Bhakti – the path of devotion; Karma – the path of selfless action; Jnana Yoga – the path of Knowledge; Raja Yoga – the Kingly or mystical path.
  • The Immortality of the Soul
  • The three Gunas or Modes of Life. Sattva, Rajas and Tamas
  • Dharma – the inner code of life, sometimes translated as righteousness or duty. More later.
  • Karma and Reincarnation. They go together.
  • Surrender to God

The Gita was born about 600 B.C and its authorship is credited to Vyasa, the Sage. The whole narrative begins with a significant question asked by Dritharastra and Sanjaya answers, narrating the battle and the teachings of Lord Krishna. Sri Chinmoy’s lofty utterance describes the Gita thus:

“The Gita is the epitome of the Vedas. It is spontaneous. It is in a form at once divinized and humanized. It is also the purest milk drawn from the udders of the most illumining Upanishads to feed and nourish the human soul.” -Sri Chinmoy

Guruji continues in his authoritative style:

“The Gita demands man’s acceptance of life, and reveals the way to achieve the victory of the higher self over the lower by the spiritual art of transformation: physical, vital, mental, psychic and spiritual.” -Sri Chinmoy

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Teachings of the Gita:

Sri Krishna teaches Arjuna quite lucidly and authoritatively, about the immortality of the soul. Christianity teaches us of a body and soul, but for what ever reason, we go about believing we are a body and as such are driven by body-consciousness. The East is just as bad in terms of this kind of vanity, but they seem to understand Sri Krishna’s teachings, as it is so well explained.

In the West we are a body that has a soul. We have been feeding the body from birth, but we have forgotten to feed the soul, even though all scriptures, both East and West, contain ‘recommendations’ or rules to follow, for our spiritual progress. Not so in the East.

Lord Krishna makes it clear that we are in fact the Atman, (the soul) and the body is an instrument of the soul, which is indestructible and immortal. Some of his famous lines in the Gita goes like this:

“Weapons cannot cleave the soul.

Fire cannot burn the soul.

Water cannot drench the soul;

Wind cannot dry the soul.” -The Bhagavad Gita

The soul is part and parcel of Brahman (The Absolute), a spark of the Divine and the goal of life is for the Atman (the soul), to merge into the Paramatman, the Supreme Soul and become one … the Self. According to Sri Chinmoy, the Heart is the shrine and the soul is the deity within the shrine. They are not outside us, but within.

What’s needed in life is for both the inner life and outer life to blend in harmony, as man is literally made in the image of Spirit and there is a mystical side to his nature. Man’s constant struggle, is due to a disobedience or lack of awareness (Avidya or ignorance) of the Higher universal laws. He is outwardly focused, following the ways of modern consumerism and as such pain or affliction is inevitable.

This concludes Part1 of the Gita. Part 2 will come in a couple of days with a stronger emphasis on Spirituality and Sri Krishna’s teachings, some of which have been bulleted above. In his teachings, there is no East or West. All is Consciousness; the Creator and Its creation are one and we are all parts of the same life-stream of the Absolute Brahman or Supreme.

This projection of Silence into sound we call Creation and is necessary for what is called a Lila or Divine game. The play of God or Consciousness. We call it the Song of The Transcendental Soul, as it is not fixed and in fact is always evolving, into the ever-transcending beyond. To be continued …

Manatita, The Lantern Carrier. 11th December, 2019

Credit: To Sri Chinmoy, my Spiritual Director and his Commentary on The Bhagavad Gita: The Song of The Transcendental Soul.

Swami Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda

Eastern Spirituality

© 2019 manatita44

Comments

manatita44 (author) from london on March 08, 2020:

Yes, my Dear.

I'm so happy that more and more you are enquiring into your true nature. There are some we know here, who would not allow so many windows in their Heart, even if they speak of it. I'm so proud of you, Peggy. At least you are asking the hard questions. Much Love.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on March 08, 2020:

Thanks for trying to explain the Gita to those of us who are unfamiliar with it. I think that you are doing your best on HubPages and elsewhere to embody the spirit of those teachings and spread the word about it.

manatita44 (author) from london on December 16, 2019:

By golly, Shaloo! Hare Krishna!

You are alive! Lol. I have visited you a few times. Are you taking a rest? Thank you so much!!

Li-Jen, my Sweet.

You are snowed under? Don't work too hard.

The mystic has no quarrel with life or doctrines. There really is no East or West in his Heart. Just that we have to break these things down for a few of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Not Jesus, the man, but the Spirit or Consciousness within the form. Amitabha.

Shaloo Walia from India on December 16, 2019:

Hare Krishna

Li-Jen Hew on December 16, 2019:

Hi Manatita. That's a nice profile picture.Thanks for introducing Gita to us. I appreciate the comparison between the East and West for simple understanding.

manatita44 (author) from london on December 15, 2019:

Good to see you here as well, my brother. You and Emge, you both honour me. I'm so proud of you!

Your sentiments are beautiful and like poetry sublime to me. My Gratitude, Bhaia Ji.

Hi again, Linda.

Thank you so much! You have a scholarly mind but a wise heart. They can and do go together.

You can read Guruji's writings free and also get the Gita here. srichinmoylibrary.org free. its called, Commentary on The Gita: The Song of The Transcendental Soul. Gratitude

manatita44 (author) from london on December 15, 2019:

Haha, my brother Cam.

You are not going to hell. I do not say those things. I love you too much. Indeed even in my poetry I'm careful with condemnation. I avoid words like 'you' and 'they' like the plague. Lol.

But I know you are teasing me. Yes ... yes. So much wisdom in your lines! The East have the problem too. We are all God's children. All essentially weak, including me, Bro.

The five cardinal vices: ego, attachments, lust, greed and anger, affect the East as well as the West. Why else would Sri Krishna teach?

By the way, there are many spiritual groups in the West now, and many are familiar with the Gita.

Venkatachari M from Hyderabad, India on December 14, 2019:

Manatita, you are doing a wonderful service by bringing up this conversation on the teachings of Gita.

Gita is definitely an excellent and valuable treasure of knowledge for understanding our physical and spiritual values of life.

You and your spiritual master Guru Chinmoy described the core essence of it all in a very beautiful manner. Thanks.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on December 14, 2019:

This is a very interesting and informative article, Manatita. I heard about the Bhagavad Gita many years ago and have wanted to read it for a long time. Your article has encouraged me to finally do it.

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on December 14, 2019:

I get glimpses of what you are talking about, but the thinking and speaking of those in the East and West is very different. This makes comprehension of the Bhagavad Gita by those in the west difficult...especially in these days when we will not labor over anything to gain understanding. If the instructions to turn on our new television are not spelled out in first-grade level reading, we throw it out. So when we come to the writings you have presented, we give them not a single second of recognition. When I say, "we", I mean the general western population.

Am I correct, or is the difficulty in comprehension based more on the age of the writings? Do those in the East also struggle with understanding?

I say this in all honesty. When I read a few lines of the Bhagavad Gita, I want to scream and pull my hair out.

I love you Manatita. I hear and read your words of wisdom, but I can't seem to read these primary sources and gain much knowledge or spirituality.

Please don't tell me I'm going to hell. I've gotten that from the Western side.

manatita44 (author) from london on December 13, 2019:

Thank you. It is like Emge describes it below. I agree with you though. It is one of the most translated book in the world and there are hundreds of commentaries on it. There are some well known writers who are 'reasonably' true' to it, such as Kamala Subramaniam and Ecknath Iswaran.

My Guru's comments are like a spiritual treatise in itself and is easily available free on srichinmoylibrary.org.

Yes, we are where we are as seekers, but we can still benefit from others. I was spiritually awakened by reading a book in 1982 and some people are, just by hearing a lecture, by dreams or seeing something on T.V. There are no hard and fast rules. The god-soul simply serves and if a soul is aspiring at any given moment, then he becomes like a light which is switched on.

The Gita is quintessentially the Spiritual life explained in a much more lucid way. Thank you so much!

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on December 13, 2019:

I read the Bhagavad Gita several years ago, but my copy was annotated. I would like to read it again and draw my own conclusions. I believe that each person should draw his/her own conclusions from spiritual messages based on the spiritual level on which they are working. I didn't realize that the BG was part of a much larger writing. Thank you for that information, Manatita. I look forward to your part 2.

manatita44 (author) from london on December 13, 2019:

Agreed, Devika.

This has been the sweetness of my mango for the last 37 years.

Well, my Brother,

What a sentiment coming from one of my Elders in this sweet science. I bow to you, my Bhai Ji. Salutations!!

MG Singh emge from Singapore on December 13, 2019:

Dear brother, this is an article after my heart. Indeed the Bhagwad Gita is simply priceless for the wisdom it reveals. You have done a great service by bringing out knowledge about this sacred song to all people in the world.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on December 13, 2019:

Thank you for that it is a must for to try yoga and live spiritually it does bring peace to the mind and allow for a stress free lifestyle.

manatita44 (author) from london on December 13, 2019:

Thank You, Devika.

The Indian culture, like the Chinese, is incredibly rich and I'm not qualified to talk about it. What I have done is give a background setting to the teachings of yoga, of Spirituality, of Sri Krishna's lofty utterances, which, if followed, can bring ultimate Peace. More in part 2. Gratitude.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on December 13, 2019:

I don't mind learning of other cultures as I have done in the 17 years living in Croatia. Interesting and lots to push one in that direction. The many cultures are interesting and unique.

manatita44 (author) from london on December 12, 2019:

I seem to have stopped receiving mails again from Hubpages. A real pain.

He was just a geedy power driven obstinate man, Eric.

We know a few, dont we?

Yes there's much that I have left out in order to focus on the teaching in part 2. Thank you.

Ruby

I know a great deal about many mystical Christian Saints, but only after taking up the spiritual life. The Gita is on Amazon and worth reading.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on December 12, 2019:

I must admit that I'm unfamiliar with this teaching, but I think it's good to learn of other cultures and teachings.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on December 12, 2019:

Wonderful. I did some fact checks on you with my two books on the matters. Some concepts were a bit different were, different than my recollection.

I like your's. I might have to read all of it again.

I like how you discuss specifics. I am a general concept type of guy.

This one still bothers me; "Duryodhana, was evil incarnate". But I like to think of him as the devil on my left shoulder. Part of my balance.