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The Philosophy of the Gita

The Indian philosophical systems, known as darsanas, generally treat their subject under four major headings: the Causes of the universe; creation or evolution of the universe; nature of the individual soul; the goal of human life and means of achieving it. Though the Bhagavad Gita is not a systematic treatise on philosophy it is possible to deal with its subject matter under these headings. It may not be out of place to mention here that the colophon given at the end of each chapter of the Gita viz., Upanishad, Brahmavidya and Yogasastra, reflects its contents very well. It is an úpanishad’ or esoteric wisdom given by the teacher to a discipline on request. It is ‘brahmavidya’ since it deals with Brahman, the Absolute. It is Ýogashastra’ since it describes yoga or practical disciplines that help an aspirant to attain spiritual wisdom, the goal of life.


Q1. What is the purpose of life according to the Gita?


The Bhagavad Gita, also known as the manual of life, teaches us various lessons on how to lead a purposeful life. It is a divine conversation between the Supreme Lord Krishna and His devotee and friend Arjun. The Lord gives many instances in the Gita that tell us the importance of the human form of life. He tells Arjun that the ultimate goal of all living entities is to come out of the vicious cycle of birth, death, old age, and disease, and to go back to the spiritual world (a place of no miseries) from where the individual soul never returns to the material world.


Q2. What is Krishna’s philosophy of action?


Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, tells Arjun in the Srimad Bhagwat Geeta that the living entities, which are His parts and parcels, should engage in their prescribed duties (According to Varnashrama Dharma) but should be detached from the results of their actions. The Lord also explains that all work should be done as a sacrifice for Vishnu and in this way, the individual soul always remains free from material bondage.


Q3. What was Krishna’s philosophy in the Gita?


The Supreme Lord Krishna instructed His dearmost devotee and friend Arjun about the three modes of material nature (Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas) and how the living entities (Jiva) that are parts and parcels of the Supreme Lord (Ishvara) engage in different activities (Karma) and suffer or enjoy their results. With the influence of Time (Kaal), a powerful force of the Supreme Lord, everything is destroyed. The Lord tells Arjun that the nature of this material world is that it is temporary and full of miseries. Therefore, the only solution to get out of this material existence is to surrender to the Lord and work for Him. In this way, the conditioned soul gets liberated and enters into the spiritual world where there are no miseries.


Q4. What is the philosophy of the Bhagavad Gita?


The Bhagavad Gita is the most relevant book for solving everyday problems. It opens the secret of five subject matters: the Supreme Lord (Ishvara), the living entity (Jiva), the material nature (Prakriti), work or action (Karma), and time (Kaal). Among these five, the living entities are the superior energy of the Lord. Whereas, the material nature is the inferior energy. The living entities engage in different activities according to the three modes of material nature and the Kaal offers them either happiness or distress. However, to get out of the cycle of birth and death, the living entities need to surrender unto the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord and go back to the spiritual world.

Q5. Is Bhagavad Gita a philosophical work?


Yes, Bhagavad Gita presents the perfect philosophy about the Absolute Truth, that which never changes and applies to everyone and forever. Lord Krishna explains to Arjun in the Gita about the constitutional identity or position of the living entities, their relationship with Him (the Supreme Lord), and how to establish it. He also tells him about the nature of this material world and what is the ultimate goal or purpose of all living entities. Whoever tries to follow the instructions of Lord Krishna given in the Gita certainly attains the highest perfection of life.