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Shrimad Bhagawad Geeta (also referred to simply as the Geeta) is the most revered of Indian scriptures that comprehensively presents the highest spiritual philosophy in the Indian tradition. It is believed to be told by Lord Shri Krishna to Arjuna on the Mahabharat battle field of Kurukshetra. Just before the epic war between Pandavas and Kauravas was to begin, Arjuna was suddenly overcome by confusion about whether it was right for him to fight and kill his own cousins and other relatives as also his revered teachers (gurus) and other elders who were standing opposite him as his enemies. As a result, he dropped his weapons and sat down in his chariot in a completely distraught mood. It was then that Shri Krishna who took upon himself the job of being Arjuna’s charioteer, preached the complete spiritual philosophy by way of Shrimad Bhagawad Geeta. It helped Arjuna understand clearly what this creation is and what the purpose of human life in it is. He could then proceed with fighting the Mahabharat war as a duty in a detached manner.
The power of the Bhagawad Geeta philosophy is tremendous. One who reads/listens to it in complete faith and with total devotion gets liberated from the bondage to the bodily identity. Arjuna had been completely overwhelmed by moha (attachment and wrong notions of “me/mine”) at the beginning and had refused to accept Shri Krishna’s initial arguments. But later, as Shri Krishna unfolded the profound spiritual philosophy, even that otherwise extremely debilitating moha of Arjuna completely vanished and he became ready to act in accordance with Shri Krishna’s preaching. This also drives home the potent influence of a true guru on his disciple. We can understand this as a change in the relationship between Arjuna and Shri Krishna as the Geeta progresses. Initially, Arjuna was still seeing Shri Krishna as a friend and a relative. Then gradually, he realized that Shri Krishna was Divine incarnated and hence accepted Him as his guru. Shri Krishna also then put in His all into His preaching and revealed all that is worth knowing in spirituality. In fact, Shri Krishna even granted His Vishwaroopa Darshan to show Arjuna that everything is just one, namely the Divine, and nothing exists apart from Him. No wonder Arjuna’s moha disappeared totally.
This book is an attempt by the author to share the practical essence of the Geeta as digested by him. The philosophy put forth in the Geeta is a philosophy for living that can be used by anyone and everyone in whatever life situation one may be in. As such, one can certainly pick and choose one or the other concept that may be appropriate to his individual situation from time to time. It also specifies different spiritual paths that can suit different people with their own different temperament/nature. The beauty of the Geeta philosophy is that it dismisses the core concepts of organized religions - the ideas of paap (sin) and punya (righteous credit) and the carrot and stick of heaven or hell after death. Instead, it focuses on an individual righteousness called svadharma, as the means to a blissful life leading to liberation. Svadharma is understood as an individual way of life that is warranted in a given situation while being in god consciousness. It does not stipulate “what to do or not to do”, but rather advocates the right mental attitude to living as exemplified by one of the core philosophies of the Geeta, namely “Karmanye wadhikaraste, ma phaleshu kadachan” (“You have a right to only your action and not to the outcome of it.”) It clearly downplays the importance of rituals when it says that god is pleased with the sincerity of his devotee while worshipping Him and that god does not need, nor does He bother about what materials are offered in the worship. That makes the Geeta universal without being appropriated by an organized religion like Hinduism.
The last verse of the Geeta is said to be “poornodgar”, i.e. the perfect statement. It is said to have the complete essence of Geeta. It conveys that Shri Krishna is the Divine incarnate and after He preached the supreme spiritual philosophy to His beloved disciple, Arjuna, the latter also became Divine. It was thus a double benefit to Pandavas and hence they were sure to emerge victorious. In the context of us ordinary seekers in the modern world, it can be understood to mean that if we are under the grace of a true guru, we can also emerge victorious in the struggle of worldly life, not in a worldly sense, but in a spiritual sense. We will be spiritually unhurt in the battle of life and will successfully come out of it blissfully.
This book is organized into different chapters based on the various concepts that are put forth in the Geeta. Often spiritual or philosophical writings are too theoretical where to explain one abstract term, another equally abstract term is used! Instead, in this book, the author has presented the concepts with a focus on what they mean in actual worldly life and how exactly to put them into practice, primarily by way of the right mental attitude.
The book contains many Sanskrit terms. The English meaning of such terms is given in brackets right next to the Sanskrit term wherever they are used. In addition, a glossary of Sanskrit terms commonly used in Indian spiritual writings is also given at the end of the book for easy reference.