Why we need the Bhagvad-Gita like never before

By Yamuna Sundari Dasi

“An invisible atomic being has now shut the entire world.” We are hearing such statements in the media, social groups and other local and international platforms which can be depressive, pessimistic, surprising and also perplexing.

In present times, words like social distancing, self-isolation and lockdown have become common parlance and having close and interactive relationships with anyone is nothing more than a dream. It can be difficult situation to be in and can cause a strain to the physical and mental health with no ray of hope anywhere.

There is indeed immense grief in the environment and people are feeling anxious about the situation and its solution. When life is not throwing much happiness our way, how hard can it really be to find the silver lining of every situation? With all the lockdowns, crashing economies, recession, unemployment, deaths and increasing constraints on the health systems—it is a hard pill to swallow.

It is challenging to remain optimistic but one good thing is the time at disposal to reflect and reach within the natural responses of our inner self. In this time where we are asked not to go outside, we rather use it as an opportunity to go inside.

I encourage all my readers to read through a very encouraging and positive book which depicts the true spirit of living and would give you the courage, encouragement and a pragmatic approach to deal with the current crisis and ameliorate your responses to this situation positively. That book is the Bhagavad-Gita, the ancient science of the self which has instilled hope and knowledge in millions all over the world.

Let’s read some reviews from great scholars and personalities who have benefitted from this book:

  1. Mahatma Gandhi, transformational Indian leader: I find solace in the Bhagavad Gita that I miss even in the Sermon on the Mount. When disappointment stares me in the face and all alone I see not one ray of light, I go back to the Bhagavad Gita. I find a verse here and a verse there and I immediately begin to smile in the midst of overwhelming tragedies—and my life has been full of external tragedies—and if they have left no visible, no indelible scar on me, I owe it all to the teaching of Bhagavad Gita.
  2. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi: The Bhagavad-Gita is India’s biggest gift to the world.
  3. Tulsi Gabbard, United States Representative: The Bhagavad Gita is the “perfect textbook” for those who are striving to be “servant leaders” and its message is relevant for all days and ages. It is as relevant today as it has always been and as it always will be… regardless of your age, where you come from, what language you speak, what gender…I have gradually been able to understand my true identity… Who I really am, my spiritual essence, my purpose in life…
  4. Dr. Geddes MacGregor, Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Philosophy from University of Southern California: No work in all Indian literature is more quoted, because none is better loved, in the West, than the Bhagavad-Gita. For the poem is a symphony in which God is seen in all things.
  5. Ralph Waldo Emerson, American Essayist, Lecturer, and Poet said: I owed a magnificent day to the Bhagavad Gita. It was the first of books; it was as if an empire spoke to us, nothing small or unworthy, but large, serene, consistent, the voice of an old intelligence which in another age and climate had pondered and thus disposed of the same questions which exercise us.
  6. Sunita Williams, American astronaut, who carried a copy of the Bhagavad-Gita with her to space: Those are spiritual things to reflect upon yourself, life, the world around you and see things the other way.

The Bhagavad-Gita is non-sectarian and not a Holy book for the Hindus. Lord Krishna nowhere mentions in the Bhagavad-Gita that it is a book only for man born on Indian soil, rather as a universal manual for mankind.

The Bhagavad-Gita deals with five main topics

1. Ishvara or the Supreme Conscious Being/God: When we see wonderful things happening in the cosmic nature, we should know that behind this cosmic manifestation there is a controller. Nothing could be manifested without being controlled. For instance, a child may think that an automobile is quite wonderful to be able to run without a horse or other animal pulling it, but a sane man knows the nature of the automobile’s engineering arrangement. He always knows that behind the machinery there is a man, a driver. Similarly, the Supreme Lord is the driver under whose direction everything is working. There is a cause and an effect for everything in this world. How could a painting show up without a painter, despite the fact that there is an easel, paint, brush, etc.? Who is the ultimate source of this creation? The Bhagavad-Gita explains that God is the source and foundation of this entire creation. He is also the maintainer and annihilator. We cannot conclude something as perfect as this creation where everything works in coherence, and there is perfect symmetry in all events has come from nothing or from a big bang.

2. Jiva or the living entity: The living entities are part and parcel of the Supreme Lord. Because the living beings are in quality like the supreme controller, they are considered as superior energy. A particle of gold is also gold; a drop of water from the sea is also salty. Similarly, we the living entities, being part and parcel of the supreme controller, Lord Sri Krishna, have all the characteristics of the Supreme Lord in tiny quantity. We are trying to control nature, as presently we are trying to control space or planets, and this tendency to control is there because it is in God, But although we have a tendency to lord it over material nature, we should know that we are not the supreme controller. The root of a tree maintains the whole tree, Lord Krishna, being the original root of all things, maintains everything in this material manifestation.

3. Prakriti or this material creation/nature: The appearance of this world is not accepted as false; it is accepted as real, but temporary. It is likened unto a cloud which moves across the sky, or the coming of the rainy season, which nourishes grains. As soon as the rainy season is over and as soon as the cloud goes away, all the crops which were nourished by the rain dry up. Similarly, this material manifestation takes place at a certain interval, stays for a while and then disappears. Such are the workings of Prakriti. The manifestation of Prakriti may be temporary, but it is not false. The controller of this material nature is the Supreme Lord Krishna under whose will this process of creation, maintenance and destruction is conducted.

4. Kala or Eternal Time: Kala means time. Time has got a very great influence as we can all experience. Time’s business is to depreciate. We make a nice house, but as soon as it becomes older it is destroyed. We have a table which is new, but by the influence of time it will gradually become old. We all have a nice body but the influence of time will ultimately prevail and destroy this body. That is the influence of time. In the Bhagavad-gita, the universal form of Krishna is addressed as Kala.

5. Karma or Activities: In this world, living entities are engaged in various activities called karma. Every action in this world brings a positive or negative reaction. Living entities are suffering or enjoying the results of their activities from time immemorial, but they can change the results of karma, or their activity, and this change depends on the perfection of knowledge. The effects of karma may be very old. Through the Bhagavad-Gita, we can fathom what sort of activities would give us release from the bondage of actions and reactions.

Hence, we can see from the above facts that this timeless wisdom is our true treasure and can give us the guidance, solace and a right spirit to work and respond to the happenings around us. Let’s therefore welcome this priceless jewel in our lives and open a whirlpool of happiness and joy even amidst testing situations as these.

As efforts to control the Coronavirus outbreak continue, The International Society for Krishna Consciousness have temporarily suspended the monthly Sunday Feast programs at Feather brook Community Center in Pointcook until further notice. However, we have online platforms to connect with spiritual practitioners and get further insights in these divine topics.

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