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Bhagwat Gita

Bhagavad Gita or known as Gita, is an Hindu scripture of 700 verse, and a part of Hindu’s great epic, The Mahabharata. The teacher of Bhagavad Gita is Lord Krishna. The context of Bhagavad Gita, was a conversion between The Lord Krishna and Pandav Prince Arjuna, taking place in the middle of the Kurukshetra war with the armies on both side ready to battle.  Responding to Arjuna’s confusion and moral dilemma about fighting his own cousins who command a tyranny imposed on a disputed empire, Lord Krishna explains to Arjuna his duties as a warrior and prince, and elaborates on different Yogic and Vedantic philosophies, and explains different ways in which the soul can reach the supreme being with examples and analogies. This has led to the Gita often being described as a concise guide to Hindu theology and also as a practical, self-contained guide to life. During the discourse, Lord Krishna reveals His identity as the Supreme Being Himself (Svayam Bhagavan), blessing Arjuna with an awe-inspiring vision of His divine universal form.

The Bhagavad Gita is also called Gitopanisad, imlying its having the status of an Upanishad, i.e. a Vedantic scripture. As with all the Mahabharata, the text of The Bhagavad Gita cannot be dated with certainty. Some astrologers have calculated the Bhagavad Gita traditionally being revealed circa 3000 BCE based purely on Sri Krishna’s horoscope. 

The Bhagavad Gita begins before the start of the battle at Kurukshetra, with the Pandava Prince Arjuna becoming filled with doubt on the battlefield. Realizing that his enemies are his own relatives, beloved friends, and revered teachers, he turns to his charioteer and guide, The Lord Krishna, for advice.

In summary, Bhagavad Gita is the explanation of five basic concepts or Truths:

  1. Ishvara (The Supreme Controller)

  2. Jiva (Living Beings/the individualized soul)

  3. Prakrti (Nature/Matter)

  4. Dharma (Duty in accordance with Divine law)

  5. Kaala (Time)

Fundamentally, the Bhagavad Gita proposes that true enlightenment comes from growing beyond identification with the temporal ego, the “False self”, the ephemeral word, so that one identifies with the truth of the immortal self, the absolute soul or Atman. Through detachment from the material sense of ego, the Yogi, or follower of a particular path of Yoga, is able to transcend his/her illusory mortality and attachment to the material world and enter the realm of the Supreme. 

Overview of Chapters:

  1. Visada Yoga : Arjuna requests Krishna to move his chariot between the two armies. When Arjuna sees his relatives on the opposing army side, he loses morale and decides not to fight.

  2. Sankhya Yoga : After asking Lord Krishna for help, Arjuna is instructed that only the body may be killed, as he was worried if it would become a sin to kill people (Including his gurus and relatives), while the eternal self is immortal. Krishna appeals to Arjuna that, as a warrior, he has a duty to uphold the path of dharma through warfare.

  3. Karma Yoga : Arjuna asks why he should engage in fighting if knowledge is more important than action. Krishna stresses to Arjuna that performing his duties for the greater good, but without attachment to results, is the appropriate course of action.

  4. Jnana Yoga : Krishna reveals that he has lived through many births, always teaching yoga for the protection of pious and the destruction of the impious and stresses the importance of accepting a guru.

  5. Karma Vairagya Yoga : Arjuna asks Krishna if it is better to forgo action or to act (” renunciation or discipline of action”). Krishna answers that both ways may be beneficent, but that acting in Karma Yoga is superior.

  6. Dhyan Yoga : Krishna describes that correct posture for meditation and the process of how to achieve Samadhi.

  7. Paramahamsa Vijnana Yoga : Krishna teaches hte path of knowledge.

  8. Aksara-Parabrahman Yoga : Krishna defines the terms brahman, adhyatma, karma, atman, adhibuta, and adhidaiva and explains how one can remember him at the time of death and attain his supreme abode.

  9. Raja-Vidya-Guhya Yoga : Krishna explains panentheism, “All beings are in me” as a way of remembering him in all circumstances.

  10. Vibhuti-Vistara Yoga : Krishna describes how he is the ultimate source of all material and spiritual worlds. Arjuna accepts krishna as the Supreme Being, quoting great sages who have also done so.

  11. Visvarupa-Darsana Yoga : On Arjuna’s request, krishna displays his “universal form”, a theophany of a being facing every way and emitting the radiance of a thousand suns, contacting all other beings and material in existence.

  12. Bhakti Yoga : Krishna describes the process of devotional service.

  13. Ksetra-Ksetrajna Vibhaga Yoga : Krishna describes nature, the enjoyer and consciousness.

  14. Gunatraya-Vibhaga Yoga : Krishna explains the tree modes of material nature.

  15. Purusottama yoga : Krishna describes a symbolic tree, its roots in the heavens and its foliage on earth. Krishna explains that this tree should be felled with the “axe of detachment”, after which one can go beyond to his supreme abode.

  16. Daivasura-Sampad-Vibhaga Yoga : Krishna tells of the human traits of the divine and the demonic natures. He counsels that to attain the supreme destination one must give up lust, anger and greed, discern between right and wrong action by discernment through Buddhi and evidence from scripture and thus act correctly. 

  17. Sraddhatraya-Vibhaga Yoga : Krishna tells of three divisions of faith and the thoughts, deeds and even eating habits corresponding to the three gunas.

  18. Moksa-Opadesa Yoga : In conclusion, krishan asks Arjuna to abandon all forms of dharma and simply surrender unto hiim. He describes this as the ultimate perfection of life. 

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