23rd Dec was Gita – Jyanti, the day when Krishna spoke Bhagavad – Gita to Arjuna around 5000 years ago. The sublime message of the Gita was spoken by Krishna for 45 minutes at a place called Jyotisar in Haryana just before the beginning of the war.
The Gita is called Raja Vidya - the king of all knowledge. If all the Vedic literatures are cows then Bhagavad – Gita is the milk of the cow i.e. it is the essence of all the Vedic literatures. Krishna is the milkman, Arjuna is the calf who drinks the milk, and the same milk has been made available to us in the written form by the great sage, Vyasa – Dev.
This beautiful literature has impacted the conscience of humankind for ages. The glories of the Gita stems from the fact that it transcends all the artificial boundaries of caste, creed, religions, race, nation, gender etc. Bhagavad – Gita is not just 5000 years old. It has been in existence since the dawn of creation. Krishna informs Arjuna that “I instructed this imperishable science of yoga to the sun-god, Vivasvan, and Vivasvan instructed it to Manu, the father of mankind, and Manu in turn instructed it to Iksvaku” B.G. 4.1. Since the knowledge got lost by the influence of time so Krishna again spoke it to Arjuna for the benefit of all of us.
The Gita very vividly talks about Isavara (God), Jivatma (Soul), Kala (Time), Karma (actions) and Prakriti (Nature). It gives us spiritual intelligence to march towards the righteous path. The fundamental question of who am I, who is God, what is my relationship with Him and what is the purpose of this human life is very systematically, logically and pragmatically espoused.
The Gita wasn’t spoken for Hindus or Indians. In fact it is for the entire humanity. Great scholars throughout the ages have sought refuge of this pearl of wisdom when confronted with challenges. It has inspired the world fame leaders like Gandhi, Churchill, Einstein, Newton and several others. After reading Bhagavad – Gita a Hindu will become a better Hindu, a Muslim a better Muslim, a Christian a better Christian and a Jew a better Jew.
Unfortunately many mundane academic – scholars presented their own interpretation of Bhagavad – gita, thus misleading the masses. The most important message of the Gita is to know Krishna and to return back to the spiritual world. Srila Prabhupada was very much concerned about the misinterpretation of Krishna’s original message. He therefore decided to translate the original Sanskrit text into English language and named the book as Bhagavad Gita As It Is. The word “As It Is” stresses the fact that the book is an unadulterated translation of the original Sanskrit text. In his translation there is meaning of each Sanskrit word, translation of entire verse and purport with various scriptural references like Srimad – Bhagavatam, Brahma Samhita, Isopanisad, Puranas etc. At present this is the largest selling translation of the Gita all over the world. The book has been further translated into more than 70 languages. Bhagavad Gita As It Is has transformed the lives of millions of people all over the planet.
The main focus of the Gita is to make us understand that if we want to lead a happy life then we need to connect ourselves to Krishna. Krishna is not imposing his will but is trying to show us the right path. It’s like a father trying to persuade his unruly son to give up suicidal path and return back to his own home where he will get lots of love and care.
Krishna is too accommodative, every living being has different level of consciousness and so He suggests various paths through which one can perfect their life. He speaks about karma – yoga, jnana yoga and dharma yoga. Dharma – Yoga is the topmost but everyone may not be able to adhere to it. So Krishna also recommends Karma – Yoga and Jnana – Yoga
After hearing the topmost knowledge Arjuna reveals, “My dear Krishna, O infallible one, my illusion is now gone. I have regained my memory by Your mercy. I am now firm and free from doubt and am prepared to act according to Your instructions. “B.G. 18.73
Just like Arjuna we too need to promise to Krishna that “I am prepared to act according to Your instructions”. And Krishna guarantees “Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.” Bhagavad – Gita 18.66