The Bhagavad Gita is one of the most famous scriptures on the philosophy of life. Wars have been fought all over the world, throughout history, in different contexts, on various pretexts, but never has a war brought out a message so timeless and so universal in its appeal and relevance. The Bhagavad Gita presents us with a panoramic overview of all possible paths to reach the highest truth. It's the eternal song, because its values hold good for all generations, for people all over.
This is a compilation of a series of talks on the Gita by Gurudev. By taking examples from everyday life, Gurudev makes his discourse simple and yet explores great depth in the verses of the song that Lord Krishna sang to Arjuna in the middle of a battlefield, the Bhagavad Gita.
Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, spiritual leader and world-renowned humanitarian, was born in 1956 in Southern India. He was often found deep in meditation as a child. At the age of four, he astonished his teachers by reciting the Bhagavad Gita. To globalize the knowledge of leading a happy, stress-free life, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar established an international educational and humanitarian NGO, The Art of Living, in 1982. Today, with a presence in over 156 countries, The Art of Living is one of the largest voluntary organizations in the world.
In the story of the Mahabharata, there was a king named Dhritarashtra, who was blind. Dhritarashtra's younger brother, Pandu, had five sons and Dhritarashtra had one hundred children. The eldest of the hundred was Duryodhana, and these one hundred Kauravas were arrogant and unruly. The five Pandavas were brilliant, righteous and had high moral standards. Everybody loved and appreciated the five Pandavas, but Duryodhana wanted to get rid of them. So, Duryodhana invited them to a game of dice. The Pandavas lost everything they owned, including their wife, Draupadi, in the game. This resulted in the Great War - Mahabharata.
The great war between the Kauravas and the Pandavas is the Mahabharata, in which Krishna became Arjuna's charioteer. Arjuna, an ace archer, was one of the five Pandava brothers. Lord Krishna remained neutral. At least, he appeared to be very neutral. Before the war, Lord Krishna went thrice as an ambassador, in an attempt to prevent the war, to make the Kauravas come to terms, saying, "Come on, and don’t fight. Give the Pandavas five villages at least." But Duryodhana refused, saying, "I won't give them a place even as tiny as the tip of a needle. They have lost everything in the game of dice, and I am not giving them anything. I'm not going to be kind and compassionate." Consequently, the war became inevitable.
When war became inevitable, one day, Duryodhana came to see Lord Krishna. Krishna was lying on his couch in Yoga Nidra. Though He seemed to be sleeping, He knew what was happening. It is not considered right to wake someone up while they are sleeping, so Duryodhana took a seat near Krishna's feet. But then, he suddenly thought, "Why should I sit near his feet?" Duryodhana was a prince, the prince of a great kingdom; the emperor's eldest son. So, he moved and sat down near Lord Krishna's head. A little later, Arjuna came and took a seat down near Lord Krishna's feet. Lord Krishna was waiting for Arjuna to arrive.
When you have a guest, you normally ask him/her, "What can I do for you?" In this case, both the guests had come to say, "You fight from my side in the war." Whoever asked was to be dealt with a 'first come, first served' basis. Krishna was sleeping - pretending to be asleep rather. When Arjuna came and sat near his feet, he woke up. When you wake up, whom do you see first? Those at your feet! You won't turn around and look at who is near your head? Krishna sat up and said, "Oh! Arjuna, prince of this kingdom, you have come. Wonderful! What can I do for you? I know you are going to fight a war, what can I do? How can I be of help?" Arjuna said, "You be on my side!" Then Krishna looked at Duryodhana, "Oh, the emperor's prince is here too, what should I do for you?" Duryodhana said, "You should come and fight for me." Krishna had his own little army in his kingdom, not very far away. "All right, then", Krishna said, "You have a choice. Either you take me or take my army. My army will be on one side and I'll be on the other side. If you want me, then my army will go to the other party. If you want my army, then I will go to the other party." Then Krishna added, "I am not going to fight." Though he knew archery, he said, "I am not going to lift a finger. I am not going to take any weapon in my hand. If you choose me, then I will come to you, but if you want my army, you can take it."
Yoga Nidra: Yogic, that is neither sleeping, nor walking, nor
dreaming, but in-between each of these.
Duryodhana thought for a moment. "What will I do with an extra man on my side? Moreover, he says he is not going to fight. What will I do with him? He doesn't even want to pick up a weapon:' So Duryodhana decided to take Krishna's army. Arjuna was more brilliant. He said, "You come to my side. That is enough for me:' Arjuna knew that Krishna alone is equal to a million armies. He thought, "Krishna is much more powerful than a group of men with arms. He has brilliance, he has wisdom, he is enlightened, all which is needed to win. If he is on my side, then there is no way I can lose the war:' Arjuna had this inner faith, so he was very happy to have Krishna on his side. He said, "You come to me, I don't want the army :'
The war began. Arjuna and Krishna reached the battlefield in Arjuna's chariot and stood between the two armies. That is where the entire Gita took place - seven hundred verses spread across eighteen chapters. You might wonder how someone can share knowledge about meditation, the gunas - sattva, rajas, tamas, about ayurveda, pitta, kapha, vata, all this on a battlefield! That is the skill. Arjuna was given the vision of what truth is, what untruth is, what is real, what is unreal.
Bringing music' amidst chaos is the skill of divinity. Bringing light into a world where there is misery is the skill of divinity. Bringing joy where everything appears to be miserable, to make one understand that life is all fun and joy, where there are complications and problems all around, is the skill of divinity. That is exactly what Krishna does.
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