Today is the day when Krishna spoke the pristine message of Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna about 5000 years ago. The setting was unprecedented – Kurushetra was swarmed with millions of mighty warriors of Pandavas and Kauravas who were ready to take the life or give the life.
But just before the beginning of the war, Arjuna got completely bewildered. In quagmire he was ready to run away from the battle and live by begging. But Arjuna was fortunate because he had befriended Krishna. He begged Krishna to show him the right path, “Now I am confused about my duty and have lost all composure because of miserly weakness. In this condition I am asking You to tell me for certain what is best for me. Now I am Your disciple, and a soul surrendered unto You. Please instruct me”: Bhagavad Gita 2.7.
Krishna being benign, immediately took the responsibility of educating Arjuna about the righteous and unrighteous path. He educates Arjuna about Isavara (God), Jivatma (Soul), Kala (Time), Karma (actions) and Prakriti (Nature). Krishna spoke about prescribed duties, capricious work and inaction. Prescribed duties are activities which one performs as enjoined in the Vedic books, capricious work are the activities which are not recommended in the scriptures and inaction is not doing ones duty at all. Krishna advised Arjuna to perform his prescribed duties without bothering about the outcome.
In Gita, Krishna also reveals his true identity of being the Supreme Personality of Godhead. “I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. The wise who perfectly know this engage in My devotional service and worship Me with all their hearts.” (Bhagavad Gita 10.8).
The purpose of all the Vedic literatures is to know Krishna – vedais ca sarvair aham eva vaidya – of all vedas Krishna is to be known. Krishna promises that those who come under his shelter he has nothing to fear, “Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.” (Bhagavad Gita 18.66).
After hearing the sublime message of Gita, Arjuna’s bewilderment goes away and he decides to act as per Krishna’s instruction, “Arjuna said: My dear Krishna, O infallible one, my illusion is now gone. I have regained my memory by Your mercy. I am now firm and free from doubt and am prepared to act according to Your instructions.” Bhagavad Gita 18.73.
The Gita is the crest jewel of all Vedic literatures; it is called Raja Vidya – the king of all knowledge. If all the Vedic literatures are cows then Bhagavad – Gita is the milk of the cow i.e. it is the essence of all the Vedic literatures. Krishna is the milkman, Arjuna is the calf who drinks the milk, and the same milk has been made available to us in the written form by the great sage, Vyasa – Dev.
This beautiful literature has impacted the conscience of humankind for ages. The glories of Gita stems from the fact that it transcends all the artificial boundaries of caste, creed, religions, race, nation and gender. Bhagavad – Gita is not just 5000 years old. It has been in existence since the dawn of creation.
Krishna informs Arjuna that “I instructed this imperishable science of yoga to the sun-god, Vivasvan, and Vivasvan instructed it to Manu, the father of mankind, and Manu in turn instructed it to Iksvaku” B.G. 4.1. Since the knowledge got lost by the influence of time so Krishna again spoke it to Arjuna for the benefit of all of us.
Gita wasn’t spoken for Hindus or Indians; in fact it is for the entire humanity. Great scholars throughout the ages have sought refuge of this pearl of wisdom when confronted with challenges. It has inspired world fame leaders like Gandhi, Churchill, Einstein, Newton and several others. After reading Bhagavad – Gita a Hindu will become a better Hindu, a Muslim a better Muslim, a Christian a better Christian and a Jew a better Jew.
Srila Prabhupada’s commentary on Bhagavad Gita which is published as “Bhagavad Gita As It Is” is the best selling edition of Bhagavad Gita in the whole world. More than 100 million copies of “Bhagavad Gita As It Is” has been sold and this book has been translated into more than 80 languages.
On this auspicious day of Gita Jayanti let us pray to Krishna to show us the right path so that we can know Him and love Him.