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The message of Bhagavad Gita
August 30, 2010  |  radhanath-swami

At Kurukshetra, under the very banyan tree where Krishna originally spoke to Arjuna, Richard read the Bhagavad Gita. He had read many spiritual texts in his travels but the Gita struck him as a book that was so highly practical.

Richard learnt on reading the Bhagavad Gita that Krishna spoke to his disciple Arjuna who was about to shrink from his calling in the face of insurmountable obstacles. The Gita had been spoken on a battlefield because life itself is a battle, where evil perpetually attacks good and our sacred ideals are destined to be tested. We would all be confronted by grave dangers and fearsome demons within and without. There was much to be gained from facing these aggressors with integrity and faith. Krishna’s timeless call culminated in the practice of selfless devotion, determination, and spiritual absorption as the means to access a power beyond our own to overcome all fear—the power of God’s love.

In that sanctified place, the Bhagavad Gita’s message penetrated Richard so deeply that he felt as if Krishna were personally speaking to him on each page. He read several chapters every day, and was struck by how powerfully it revealed the science of self-realization beyond sectarian or historical boundaries. It elucidated such intricacies as, how the soul is related to God, how that changeless soul is affected by material nature, how karma (the natural law of action and reaction) affects all of us, and how the imperceptible influence of time acts on creation. As a lonesome wanderer seeking truth, where danger, temptation, and fear could pounce Richard at any moment, he found solace and direction in these immortal words. In Kuruksetra, the Bhagavad Gita became Richard’s handbook on how to live.

I once wondered when Arjuna wanted peace, why did Krishna speak philosophy to impel him to fight. Radhanath Swami reveals that the Bhagavad Gita asserts that lasting peace is possible only when we first make peace with God in our own hearts. Only when we are peaceful within can we act in ways that will promote peace without. And we can have internal peace only when we are in harmony with internal nature, which is that we are neither gross bodies nor subtle minds, but non-material souls, beloved children of God. Therefore we can achieve our right to real peace and happiness, not by making patchwork arrangements in this world of inescapable death, but by reviving our innate love for God and returning back to His eternal abode.

Why did Krishna chose a battlefield to enlighten Arjuna? In addition to being a historical fact, the setting of Gita signifies a deeper conflict within our consciousness. Within every human psyche is a lower self-represented by the Kauravas, who fought against Arjuna and his brothers, the Pandavas. There is also a higher self-represented by Arjuna and the other Pandavas. The war thus represents a strife between virtue and vice within our hearts. Arjuna’s breakdown before the Bhagavad Gita was spoken signifies our own bewilderment about right and wrong in the face of intractable perplexity and Krishna’s instruction illuminates for us the path of the highest morality based on selfless devotion to God. Arjuna’s eventual victory after enlightenment represents the potency of the divine wisdom of Bhagavad Gita to empower us to ultimately triumph over our lower nature and achieve inner fulfilment in this life and eternal joyful life thereafter.

Although Bhagavad Gita is sacred for Indians in general and Hindus in particular, the appreciation of Bhagavad Gita is not limited to Vedic circles. Many Western scholars have found the Bhagavad Gita to be amazingly coherent and cogent. Ralph Waldo Emerson’s remark is a sample, “In the great book of India, the Bhagavad-gita, an empire spoke to us, nothing small or unworthy, but large, serene, consistent, the voice of an old intelligence, which in another age and climate had pondered and thus disposed of the questions that exercise us.”

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  1. Radhanath Swami’s realization at the battlefield of Kurukshetra has inspired a lot to me and it has answered many questions I have had in my heart. Thank you very much Radhanath Swami.

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  2. Bhagavad Gita is a must read for everyone.

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  3. All Glories TO H.H.Radhanath Swami Maharaj

    How crystal clear is the revelation of Bhagvad Gita made, in this small but profound passage.

    Hare Krishna

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  4. Very nice post. Thank you

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  5. Such enlightened realization of Radhanath Swami should help this world today

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  6. Hari Bol, Bhagavad Gita is a must read for everyone.

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  7. Madana Kishore Das

    Amazing how Maharaj compares the good and evils within us to the Kauravas and Pandavas. I never thought of it this way. Nice realization for myself. Thank you Maharaj.

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  8. Message in BG is like treasure within the lock and the key of that lock is with the pure devotees of lord like HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj and these pure devotees are so generous that they want to distribute this unlimited wealth to every creature in this creation but because of ignorance we are not ready to accept that treasure and think it worthless even if we are ready to accept, we don’t know how to realize. So again we need pure devotees, to learn from their lives.

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