People often read scriptures, ask spiritual masters to understand the purpose of life. However, their quest continues. The Gita provides real answers which may guide people to reach their eternal destiny. Gita is the best commentary on the Vedanta philosophy. Curiously enough, the scene is laid out in the battlefield, where Krishna teaches this philosophy to Arjun with an eternal calmness. The path of surrender is the ultimate path to God – The Lord takes full responsibility for a person who depends on Him with a spirit of genuine self-surrender. Lord says – setting aside all meritorious deeds (Dharma), just surrender completely to My will with firm faith and loving contemplation. I shall liberate you from all sins and the bonds of Karma. Do not grieve. The meaning of abandoning all duties and taking refuge in the Lord is to perform one’s duty without selfish attachment as an offering to the Lord, and totally depend only on Him for help and guidance.
Chapter 1 – ARJUNA’S DILEMMA, VISHAADA
Arjun views the imminent battle from his personal perspective. Emotion takes over and his intellect gets clouded. The stage is set for Krishna to show Arjun, and all troubled souls, the path to the Truth. Vishada or Dukha is one of the paths leading to God and is not your enemy, but a friend in disguise. God knocks at your door to wake you up through Vishada.
Chapter 2 – TRANSCENDENTAL KNOWLEDGE
1. The knowledge that body is perishable and Soul is imperishable.
2. Selfless performance of one’s duty by working to the best of one’s abilities without becoming attached to the fruits of work.
3. Control of the mind, senses, selfish desires and ego.
Chapter 2 B – PROFILE OF A PERFECT PERSON
Krishna portrays a brilliant picture of a person of perfection. It covers the last 19 verses of Chapter 2 which elucidates the qualities of a perfect person.
Chapter 3 – THE PATH OF DUTY
Karma yoga – The Path of Action which is to identify your core talent, dedicate it to a higher ideal and pursue it. To help each other (3.10) is the first commandment of the creator (Brahma). Performance of one’s duty, without any personal selfish motive as a service to God and for the welfare of all, leads to self-knowledge and salvation. All work is done by the energy and power of nature, but due to ignorance people assume themselves to be the doer and incur Karmic bondage. Lust (Kama) is the origin of sin. Kill Kama by controlling the mind and senses by intellect.
Chapter 4 – PATH OF RENUNCIATION WITH KNOWLEDGE
This chapter spells out the technique of converting every act into an act of worship. It is the secret of work by which every action carries one closer to God while accomplishing worldly perfection. It must be remembered that all actions culminate in knowledge. The fire of self-knowledge reduces all bonds of Karma to ashes and one becomes selfless. In truth, there is no purifier in this world like the true knowledge of the Supreme Being. One who becomes purified by Karma Yoga discovers this knowledge within naturally and in course of time. (4.38) Chapter
5 – PATH OF RENUNCIATION
Renunciation is not ‘giving up’ things. It is ‘taking up’ higher joys. But, true renunciation, O Arjun, is difficult to attain without Karma Yoga. A sage purified by Karma Yoga quickly attains Brahma. (5.06)
Chapter 6 – THE PATH OF MEDITATION
Meditation is the pathway to Self- Realization. Step by step, Kirshna takes us through meditation to the ultimate state of Realization. For the one who has attained yoga, the calmness becomes the means of Self-realization. (6.03) “Those who perceive Me in everything and behold everything in Me, are not separated from Me, and I m not separated from them.” (6.30)
Chapter 7 – SELF-KNOWLEDGE & ENLIGHTENMENT
Krishna bridges the gap between knowing and doing. Krishna confers knowledge as well as wisdom by which we can attain the highest Truth. God is everywhere and everything. “Four types of virtuous ones worship or seek Me, O Arjun. They are: The distressed, the seeker of Self-knowledge, the seeker of wealth, and the enlightened one who has experienced the Supreme.” (7.16)
Chapter 8 – THE ETERNAL BEING, BRAHMA
‘As You Think So You Become’. If the goal is worldly, you remain caught in the vagaries of the world. Think of the Spirit and you merge with Brahman. The path of light of Self-knowledge leads to salvation (Mukti, Nirvana) and the path of darkness of ignorance leads to rebirth.
Chapter 9 – SUPREME KNOWLEDGE AND THE BIG MYSTERY
Krishna promises spiritual enlightenment as well as material success to those who worship God with singular purpose. Knowledge of the nature of the supreme is the biggest mystery. Nobody can know the True nature of Reality. Only God knows God! “O Arjun. (9.10) everything is a manifestation of the Absolute. The Supreme Being has become everything. I am both the absolute and the temporal (Sat and Asat).”
Chapter 10 – MANIFESTATION OF THE ABSOLUTE
Krishna expands our minds to see God’s immanence in his manifestations. The entire universe is only an insignificant part of the limitless expanse of Brahman. God is the origin of everything including feelings and Gunas. Everything is a manifestation of God.
Chapter 11 – ISHVARA DARSHANA YOGA
Krirshna lends Arjun temporarily the divine vision to see the splendour of Brahman. Krishna promises us through Arjuna that one who acts for Me, is devoted to Me and regards Me as supreme obtains Me. One may not be prepared or qualified to see God but by regarding the world as the manifestation of God as explained in Chapter 11,everybody can see the cosmic form of God.
Chapter 12 – PATH OF DEVOTION Krishna elucidates 35 qualities of a devotee and expounds true devotion. The five paths to God are: 1. Focus your mind on Me, and let your intellect dwell upon Me alone through meditation and contemplation. 2. Perform any ritual or Sadhana of your choice. 3. Perform your duty just to serveand please Him. Work for God without any selfish motive just as an instrument. 4. Just surrender unto My will and renounce the attachment to, and the anxiety for the fruits of all work with a subdued mind. 5. One should sincerely try to develop divine qualities discussed in the previous chapter.
Chapter 13 – CREATION AND THE CREATOR
Krishna gives a beautiful exposition on the difference between matter & spirit. This enables us to remain undeterred in our endeavours by focusing on that which is permanent. He encourages us to cultivate the 20 qualities of a wise person. One should know that entire creation is a play of Purusha and Prakriti. He is omnipresent. Jiva are born by combination of Purusha and Prakriti (spirit and matter). Whatever is born, animate or inanimate, know them to be born from the union of the matter and spirit.
Chapter 14. THREE MODES (GUNAS) OF NATURE
The Three Gunas are three types of traits/qualities in us – purity (sattva), passion (rajas) and apathy (tamas). The mission of life is to go beyond these traits and gain liberation. Three modes (or Gunas) are also the vehicles of transmigration for the individual soul. Gunas come from Me.
Chapter 15 – THE SUPREME BEING
Krishna urges you to cut apart this firmly rooted tree of the material world with the weapon of detachment. He expounds on the nature of Brahman and how it pervades over the world. Creation or the world is like a cosmic tree created by the powers of Maya. The ego, attachment and desires — the firm roots of this mighty tree — should be cut by the axe of self-knowledge and detachment. Spirit is the essence of everything. It becomes everything and supports all living beings. The spirit is also the enjoyer. The spirit becomes Jiva and enjoys sense pleasures using six sensory faculties of hearing, touch, sight, taste, smell, and mind.
Chapter 16 – DIVINE AND THE DEMONIC QUALITIES
There are only two types of human beings namely, the wise or divine and the ignorant or demonic. It is only due to one’s evil deeds and misconduct that one suffers the repeated cycles of birth and death. Therefore, to be free from the cycle of birth and death, it is necessary to develop divine qualities and get rid of demonic qualities such as lust, anger, and greed which are the three gates to hell. Let the scripture be your guide in determining what should be done and what should not be done.
Chapter 17 – THREEFOLD FAITH
Sraddha is a combination of faith, conviction and dedication which is needed to pursue a goal until it is accomplished. It is the most important determinant of success in any field of endeavour.
Chapter 18 – LIBERATION THROUGH RENUNCIATION
The chapter gives a brilliant insight into our personality categorizing various aspects of our persona – knowledge, action, actor, intellect, consistency, happiness and renunciation. Attainment of salvation can be ensured through Duty, Discipline, and Devotion. The person whose mind is always free from selfish attachment, he who has subdued the mind and senses and who is free from desires attains the supreme perfection of freedom.
Anup K. Gupta