Why should we study the Bhagawad Geeta?
We are all too familiar with the concept of an external journey, but rare are those who travel inwards. At present, our activities are so extrovert that we are ignorant about our divine inner core. Therefore, in the words of Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda, it is extremely important to take this U-Turn and embark on the journey within.
Bhagawad Geeta – a Shastra
The Bhagawad Geeta is called a shastra, a scripture, because it tells that which is absolutely beneficial for us. Scriptures are like mirrors. They expose defects in our ways of living and indicate corrective measures so that our life may be in accordance with scriptural injunctions. In the Bhagawad Geeta, Sri Krishna declares that the scriptures should be the sole authority in determining what should and what should not to be done.
The Geeta is a dharma shastra. Dharma tells us how to live a complete and positive life. It guides us on how to play all our various roles in life, wherever we are, to the best extent possible.
This exceptional text is also considered an adhyatma shastra – a book of spiritual knowledge that reveals our true identity.
Benefits of Bhagawad Geeta
The first thing to recognize is that we must live in joy and not for the sake of joy. If one lives for the sake of joy, the journey will remain forever incomplete! This point will become clear as we progress in our study of the Geeta. When we start living with right understanding in accordance with the teachings of the Divine Song, we can harness our full and highest inherent potential.
Harnesses Innate Potential
The Geeta teaches us how to express our potential to the maximum extent possible, wherever we are placed, in whichever field. This is aptly illustrated by Arjuna, the hero of the Mahabharata War, a formidable warrior, who was unable to express his full capacity due to many obstructions. Shri Krishna did not physically remove any of those obstacles; He supported Arjuna with right knowledge and showed him how to think correctly, pointing out the impediments that prevented him from taking right action. Thereafter, Arjuna’s vision became absolutely clear.
Similarly, if we can remove all the barriers in the path of right action, we will fully express our potential and that expression, itself, is an incredible joy. The earlier we commence the study of the Bhagawad Geeta, the greater will be our joy of living.
Clarifies Doubts on Duties
All of us have diverse duties to perform based on the different stages in life. Often, we are full of doubts and questions regarding these duties. The study of the Geeta brings absolute clarity on this issue. It does not mention specific duties, but it speaks in overall terms on how a person should perform duties wherever he/she has been placed without developing any negativity.
The Geeta reveals why duties should be performed, the attitude with which they should be implemented and how this helps our own upliftment.
Balances the Mind
We all want a joyful life. But, this does not happen because we are unable to balance our mind and consequently suffer a lot of agitation and sorrow. Innumerable challenging situations, big and small, arrive, uninvited, on our doorstep. Ill-prepared and ill-equipped to handle them, we quickly lose our equipoise and become unhinged.
Health and disease, success and failure, honour and dishonour, joy and sorrow are the pairs of opposites that we experience in the world. A mind that is disturbed cannot take correct decisions or focus on the work in hand. The Geeta teaches us how to keep the mind balanced under all situations and all challenges.
An imbalanced and undisciplined mind works on the principle of likes and dislikes. We spend our entire life running towards what we like and running away from what we dislike! Just imagine the state of a person who does only what he/she likes. Such a person is unable to perform ‘unpleasant’ actions even though they are duties and valuable for one’s elevation and growth. The Geeta declares that we have to rise above our likes and dislikes if we wish to be equipoised in all circumstances.
The mind is the seat of emotions. We are all aware of the great power of emotions; they overwhelm and compel us to take decisions that we regret later. Emotions are determined by the state of mind. If the state is weak, emotions can cause a lot of turbulence in our lives; if the state is strong, they add beauty to our lives.
The art of managing emotions is also taught by this eternal scripture. When the mind is balanced and we know how to handle our emotions, our relationships remain stable and steady, and we are able to willingly and happily perform all our duties
In the very first Chapter of the Geeta, we witness Arjuna’s nervous breakdown resulting from a weak and dejected mind. After Shri Krishna concludes His discourse with the eighteenth Chapter, we see a transformed Arjuna with a powerful mind and clear vision. This was the direct result of the Self-Knowledge (Atma jnana) that was revealed to him.
If we choose worldly knowledge as the our sarathi, we will never discover the true meaning of life and will always feel incomplete and unfulfilled. In sharp contrast, the sarathi of scriptural knowledge guides us to discover the meaning and goal of life – a life of peace, harmony and joy.
Thus, the gains of studying the Bhagawad Geeta are indeed immeasurable and priceless.
shasti hitam upadeshati iti shastra
Bhagawad Geeta 16.24
Bhagawad Geeta 18.73