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.
In this book, I have presented my understanding of Shrimad Bhagawad Geeta (referred simply as Geeta) from an ordinary seeker’s perspective. It is not a scholarly treatise. I trust it is simple enough for anybody and everybody to understand and adopt in the day to day life too.
The book is organised into three volumes. Chapter 1 of the Geeta basically describes the armies of Kauravas and Pandavas. Then it goes on to describe the sudden state of mental confusion on the part of Arjuna that causes him to drop his weapons and say that he wouldn’t want to fight a bloody war that will kill many loved and respected ones at his hands. The actual spiritual philosophy starts from chapter 2, verse 11. This is Volume 1 which starts from chapter 2, verse 11 and covers upto and including chapter 6.
I strongly believe that there is a divine plan behind this creation, and certainly behind someone getting on to the spiritual path. Here is a brief account of how I was “nudged” to start my spiritual journey. Of course, let me clarify upfront that the idea is not to claim any “chosen” status for myself. I sincerely acknowledge, like our gurus keep exhorting us, that I do not deserve divine mercy which has come upon me only due to a sovereign divine will.
I was born and brought up in a fairly conservative brahmin family in a small town, living a typical god fearing life till my early youth. Later, I moved to the metropolitan city of Mumbai (India) to do my graduation in technology from Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, a premier technology institute in India. Through my career, I lived in many different places interacting with many different people of widely varying thinking. As such, I may concede that by virtue of my education and profession, I must have changed significantly from a god fearing child and teenager to a “rational intellectual adult”, such as they come in the modern times! So, I never thought I would ever become a serious spiritual seeker.
In the year 2000, I stayed with my younger brother in Singapore for about 3 months, when I was on a short project assignment and he was a permanent resident of Singapore. He had already got onto the spiritual path and had received “deeksha” (initiation into spiritual pursuit by a self-realised guru) from a living guru. During a conversation, I once said to my brother that being an intellectual, I didn’t think I would ever “surrender” to a guru to get into a serious spiritual pursuit!
Within a couple of weeks of the above-referred conversation of ours, my brother’s guru came to Singapore to stay with him. She landed in the morning of a Saturday. Since the guru was tired on her arrival, I didn’t have any interaction with the guru on that day. It so happened that I was supposed to return to India that same evening. But my waiting list seat was not confirmed. So, I had to stay there one more day since I had a confirmed seat for the next day, Sunday.
Next day, on Sunday afternoon, we had a chat session with the guru. Of course, it was basically a sharing of the guru’s own life story in the context of how she came to be what she was. Those couple of hours somehow left a deep impression on me. Not that she revealed any great fundamental truths or put forth any “convincing” arguments in favour of spiritual pursuit. But something happened to me all the same through that session. On my flight back to India that evening, I unusually felt like avoiding beer and non-vegetarian food which I used to like till then. I also felt a serene calm and felt like doing a mental “jaap” (chanting of god’s name) of Bhagawan Shri Ram’s name.
Since then, I engaged myself in a little bit of meditation and gradually got more and more interested in spiritual pursuit. I was even able to hang up my boots in the year 2005 to “retire” at a premature age of 53 years to focus more on spirituality. Eventually, in the year 2006, I received “deeksha” from my guru who also belongs to the same “guru parampara” ( a lineage of gurus belonging to a particular spiritual sect) and is a current “uttaradhikaari” (next heir in the line of guru parampara) of the lineage along with my brother’s guru.
I won’t be exaggerating if I say that my encounter with my brother’s guru in Singapore as described above was the divine nudge to me to get on to the spiritual path.
As can be seen, I am just an ordinary seeker. I have no claims to any scholarly knowledge in the subject of spirituality, scriptures or writings of great philosophers and thinkers. However, I was blessed by the Almighty with a sustained desire to study Shrimad Bhagawad Geeta which is the best spiritual philosophy in the Indian tradition. I read and reread the commentary non pareil on it, called Shri Jnaneshwari or Bhaavaarth Deepika by one of the greatest Indian saints, Sant Shri Jnaneshwar Maharaj. My understanding of spirituality comes totally from my reading of Shri Jnaneshwari and the related literature / discourses by our guru lineage.
I had been regularly posting my spiritual musings as blogs on the Speaking Tree website of Times Group of India. Also, more than 20 spiritual articles of mine have been published by one of the leading daily newspapers of India, The Times of India, in its column on spirituality titled Speaking Tree. This book is based on these blogs and articles of mine.