Gita Jayanti is the day when Krishna spoke Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna, the day has lots of significance. It was spoken by Krishna to Arjuna about 5000 years ago. This sublime message of Bhagavad Gita was spoken at the battlefield of Kurukshetra. The setting was unprecedented. Millions of mighty Pandava and Kaurava warriors had swarmed the battlefield of Kurukshetra. The armies from both the sides were ready to take the life and give the life.
But just before the beginning of the war, Arjuna got completely bewildered. He lost the desire to fight the most important battle of his life. He wanted to run away from the battlefield and was ready to live by begging. But Arjuna was fortunate because Krishna was with him. Krishna was Arjuna’s friend, philosopher and guide. The bewildered warrior who had won many battles in his life turned towards Krishna. With tears in his eyes, fear in his heart and in a faltering voice he begged Krishna to help him, 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 is a well-wishing friend of all. He is ever ready to help those who seek his shelter. He shows special mercy to his devotees. So, when Arjuna beseeched Krishna for help, Krishna immediately came to Arjuna’s rescue. He removed ignorance from Arjuna’s heart which was the main cause of Arjuna’s perplexity.
By all the Vedas, Krishna is to be known
In Bhagavad Gita, Krishna speaks about five main topics – Isavara (God), Jivatma (Soul), Kala (Time), Karma (actions) and Prakriti (Nature). In Gita, Krishna reveals his identity that he is 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” which means “by all the Vedas, Krishna is to be known”. Krishna also reveals our true identity that we are souls, parts and parcel of Krishna. Once we realize this identity of ours and start working to develop relationship with Krishna, all the problems of our life will end.
Always think of Krishna and do your duty
Krishna also speaks about prescribed duties, capricious work and inaction. Prescribed duties are activities which one performs as enjoined in the Vedic scriptures, capricious work are the activities which are not recommended in the scriptures and inaction is not doing one’s duty at all. Krishna advised Arjuna to perform his prescribed duties by keeping him always in the centre and without any attachment for the result. “Therefore, Arjuna, you should always think of Me in the form of Kṛṣṇa and at the same time carry out your prescribed duty of fighting. With your activities dedicated to Me and your mind and intelligence fixed on Me, you will attain Me without doubt.” Bhagavad Gita 8.7
If we always keep Krishna in the centre of our life and do all our duties, we will live happily in this world. and after leaving this body and this world, we will attain Krishna and go to the kingdom of Krishna which is free from birth, old age, disease and death. Krishna promises that those who come under his shelter 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.
Bhagavad Gita is the king of all knowledge
The Gita is the crest jewel of all Vedic literatures. It is called Raja Vidya – the king of all knowledge. Singing the glories of Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says, “This knowledge is the king of education, the most secret of all secrets. It is the purest knowledge, and because it gives direct perception of the self by realization, it is the perfection of religion. It is everlasting, and it is joyfully performed.” Bhagavad Gita 9.2. 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. The same milk is now available to us in the written form by the great sage, Vyasa – Dev.
This holy book full of transcendental wisdom 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” Bhagavad Gita 4.1. Since the knowledge got lost by the influence of time so Krishna again spoke it to Arjuna. Through Arjuna, Krishna is speaking this sublime message to us.
What is the best way to celebrate Gita Jayanti and understand its significance?
Gita wasn’t spoken only for Hindus or Indians. 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 is known as “Bhagavad Gita As It Is.”
It 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.
Gita Jayanti is celebrated every year in the month of December. The best way to celebrate Gita Jayanti and understand its significance is by reciting the Bhagavad Gita verses. Along with the verses recitation, we should also read the meaning of the verses. The devotees read entire Bhagavad Gita on the day of Gita Jayanti. At Iskcon temples and at different Iskcon centers there is Bhagavad Gita recitation and also Gita Jayanti Yagna. Not just this on the day of Gita Jayanti, people come forward and distribute Bhagavad Gita. They happily give Gita as gift to their friends, family members and also to those who cannot afford it.
Let us pray to Krishna on the auspicious occasion of Gita Jayanti to show us the right path so that we can know Him, love Him and understand the significance of this great book. And let us also pray to Arjuna that like him we also surrender completely to Krishna after reading Bhagavad Gita.
This year Gita Jayanti is being celebrated on 14th December, Tuesday, 2021.