Read 5 Must learn lessons from the Bhagavad Gita
The Bhagavad Gita is the most important scripture for Hindus. The 700 verses contained in the Bhagavad Gita speak of the conversation between Pandu’s son Arjuna and his saarthi Lord Krishna on the battlefield of Mahabharata. Through this conversation, Lord Krishna answers Arjuna’s questions regarding the battle, religion, duties, dharma, how to address ethical and moral dilemmas, and other questions regarding spirituality and life.
Lord Krishna’s answers to Arjuna’s questions have been found to be timeless and true for many situations that we face in life even today. The guidance provided in the Bhagavad Gita, if understood correctly by the reader, can be easily applied to find solutions to tricky and difficult life situations. It also works as a guiding factor to live a respectful, healthy, wealthy, and happy life.
While the entire Bhagawad Gita makes for an educating and interesting read, there are a few lessons that everyone should know and try to imbibe in their daily life. We’ve gleaned five such verses from the scripture.
LESSON I - WORK IS WORSHIP
कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन।
मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोऽस्त्वकर्मणि॥ - Chapter 2, Shloka 47
MEANING: Arjuna is reluctant to fight in the Mahabharata battle. Lord Krishna explains to him with this shloka that it is both his duty and his right to participate in the battle. He tells Arjuna “it is your right to perform the duties given to you without any expectation of rewards or results of the duty thus performed. You should not be attached to the result of the actions you take to complete the task given to you and you should not consider yourself the cause of the result either. You must never veer towards inaction.”
Like Arjuna, we often find ourselves unable to do the task given to us. We question its necessity, our role in it, and how we will be able to impact the outcome. At other times, we are blinded by obtaining rewards or recognition for the work we do. When we think in such a manner, it often leads to putting ourselves above the work given to us. When this happens, the task at hand does not get completed properly, it lacks quality, or our actions lack sincerity. At times when we know there is no reward or recognition, we lack the motivation to do the task and are lulled into inaction. Inaction, according to Lord Krishna is to be avoided at all costs. This shloka teaches us to take up each task given to us with complete dedication and without wishing for recognition or reward or any attachment to the result.
LESSON II - MATERIALISM BREEDS ANGER
ध्यायतो विषयान्पुंसः सङ्गस्तेषूपजायते।
सङ्गात् संजायते कामः कामात्क्रोधोऽभिजायते।। - Chapter 2, Shloka 62
MEANING: When we’re thinking of material objects or constantly in pursuit of obtaining such objects, it creates an unhealthy attachment to material things. This leads to desire, and when desires are unfulfilled, it gives rise to anger. This anger often causes grief.
In this verse, Lord Krishna compels us to look at our attachment to all material things and how we mindlessly pursue them. In our blind desire to own the object of desire, we not only forget to enjoy the relationships and the things that we already do have, but we also lead an unsatisfied and unhappy life.
LESSON III - ANGER DESTRUCTS
क्रोधाद्भवति संमोह: संमोहात्स्मृतिविभ्रम:।
स्मृतिभ्रंशाद्बुद्धिनाशो बुद्धिनाशात्प्रणश्यति॥ - Chapter 2, Shloka 63
MEANING: Anger results in misunderstandings and mistakes. This in turn negatively impacts our memory which makes us incapable of making the right decisions. When we cannot make the right decisions, we can be easily pulled down or ruined.
It is therefore important to learn to control our negative emotions, temper, and feelings of resentment. Any action taken during a restless mental state is bound to have negative repercussions on the self or on those around us.
LESSON IV - FAITH & CONTROL ARE THE FOUNDATION OF KNOWLEDGE
श्रद्धावाँल्लभते ज्ञानं तत्परः संयतेन्द्रियः।
ज्ञानं लब्ध्वा परां शान्तिमचिरेणाधिगच्छति।। - Chapter 4, Shloka 39
MEANING: Lord Krishna tells Arjuna, that only the person who has faith and control over his desires can acquire knowledge. Knowledge is important as it alone can help one achieve complete peace.
Faith is the basis of success in all activities. Without faith, we cannot achieve anything in life. Similarly, if we do not have control over our senses and desires, we cannot go far in life. Hence, both faith and control are necessary to achieve our full potential in life. When we are able to lead a fulfilling life, we experience peace.
LESSON V - BE YOUR OWN FRIEND
आत्मैव ह्यात्मनो बन्धुरात्मैव रिपुरात्मनः।। - Chapter 6, Shloka 5
MEANING: In this verse, Lord Krishna, advises Arjuna about the importance of the Self. He says, it is up to us to choose whether we want to be our own friend or enemy. Since we have that choice, we must choose to be friends with ourselves and respect our soul (Atma). As it is the only thing that can save us and guide us on the right path in the long run.
In more generic terms, this verse advises us to never compromise on our self-respect or self-love. He advises us to be our own friends. This verse advises us to honor ourselves and create an environment that will allow us to live dignity, health, and happiness.
In today’s world, people are constantly competing against one another to achieve material success. They are consumed by greed, cut-throat competition, and desire. This constant hunger for success, for material gains, and to outdo another is creating a negative environment. It is leading people to act in unethical ways, keeping them from helping one another, and leading them astray from their life purpose. Sometimes the frustration resulting from our failures also leads us to act in a manner that is harmful to another.
Despite doing everything, when we fail to achieve the targeted success or what we define as success, we tend to put ourselves down, becoming our own worst enemy in the process. This gives rise to physical, mental, and emotional ailments further weakening our ability to achieve our full potential. The tenets of the Bhagavad Gita if followed can provide relief and the motivation to go on during such times. They teach us how to live.
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