21 April 2009

Bhagavad Gita Study

For some time I have been studying Bhagavad Gita. This has given me a deep sense of meaning to my life. Now I plan to study it with more conviction so that I may be able to not only understand and follow it in my life but also teach others. I will post some of my findings from the book regularly here.

For today I will discuss the first question asked by Arjuna to Lord Krishna in the battle field of Kurukshetra. The 18 day battle is all set to take place between two parties, the Kauravas and the Pandavas. Both the sides are members of the same Kuru family and the battle is to decide the successor for the kingdom.

Lord Krishna is on the side of the Pandavas and acts as a charioteer to one of the five brothers, Arjuna. Just before the commencement of the fierce battle, Arjuna feels very compassionate towards his cousins, other relatives and his teacher on the other side and refuses to fight. He asks Lord Krishna to help him as he is confused about the proper discharge of his duties. He feels it is sinful to kill all his people for the sake of a mere kingdom.

This question is highly justifiable because it is based on the compassionate grounds. But Lord Krishna's answer reveals another strata of compassion and duty which is free of confusion and bewilderment.

The Lord refers to Arjuna's compassion as 'impurities'. He adds that this is not befitting a man who knows the progressive values of life. This leads to infamy as people would say Arjuna ran away from the battle field due to fear.

Lord Krishna accuses Arjuna of mourning for what is not worthy of grief. The wise lament neither for the living nor the dead: now this is a profound statement. Why do the wise not lament for neither living nor dead?

The explanation is given by Lord Krishna as following:
  • Every living entity is eternal. Hence there is never a question of one not existing in the past or in the future.
  • 'As an embodied soul continually passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. A self-realized soul is not bewildered by such a change.'
Next He goes about giving a detailed description on the nature of soul. I will write about that in my next post.

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