THE HOLY GITA

The creator's user manual for you!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Surrender


The above picture is the deity in the famous Parthasarathy Temple, Triplicane. This is Krishna, as He was in the war front of Kurukshetra, while He was the charioteer for Arjuna and delivered The Holy Gita.

In the picture one can see that His left hand points towards His legs, signifying an instruction to surrender. This is the pose He has taken to become a statue in this temple, where thousands of devotees walk in and walk out day by day with so many problems, complaints, queries, obligations, grievances and also to thank Him for the good things that have happened in their life. To all of them He gives the same answer. "Leave it at my feet."

There is much significance to the way Krishna shows His hands. If He had pointed his legs with His fore-finger with the other fingers closed, showing us the rear of the palm, it would have meant that He is arrogant about His supremacy and that He orders us to surrender. But Krishna shows the palm to us while his fingers point towards his feet. Body language experts state that when a person shows his palm to us it means he has no secrets. That is what God is. He is neither arrogant about his supremacy nor does he have any secrets to hide from us. He just makes a simple and plain statement. "Leave it at my feet." And He doesn't say that as an commandment, but as a friendly guidance, so gracefully.

When an illiterate patient approaches a doctor, he subjects himself to the later's treatment without a question. Thereby he gets the full benefit of the doctor's knowledge. The patient need not even know the name of the disease that is curbing him. Nor does he need to know the chemical formulas of the medicines, the doctor has prescribed to him. All he needs to do is to believe in the doctor and take up the treatment with complete faith.

Similarly all that a spiritual aspirant needs to do is to surrender to Krishna. Everything else is taken care of. He need not even have the knowledge of The Gita, but Krishna can transform him into a sagacious spiritual master. Once you get into the train, you just keep down all the luggage and sit simply. The train takes you.

The first thought of any creature is 'I.' And then comes 'I am'. I am this. I am that. Then comes 'I do'. This 'I' thought is given to the soul by God Himself. It is necessary to move about the mundane business. It is not a problem until the soul sticks to the truth and realizes that it is nothing. But ironically it gets deluded. The souls starts to think, 'I am .... I am this.. I am that.... And then comes the 'I do' thought. I do this.. I do that...
These thoughts give rise to pride and or guilt. They make us feel responsible. Thereby a lot of complexities are created in us. This is what our burdens are.

So this 'I' is the root cause of all miseries. Only on this 'I', do planets play their tricks. Helping us and making us feel superior. Hindering us and making us feel inferior. When we surrender giving up our ego, then the substratum of all the other thoughts is shaken.

A solid can be broken.
Can a liquid ever be broken?
A stiff one can be bent.
Can a flexible one ever be bent?

This is the secret and significance in surrendering to The Almighty.

And, surrender is not a one time process. One can't just walk into the temple of Krishna and say, "Hare Krishna! Note down my name. I have surrendered to you. It is your duty to take me back to Vaikuntha. Now I got some work. Until I meet you in Vaikuntha, it's me, so and so, signing off" and then get back to his/her own work. Though even such a lethargic prayer is answered and the individual will be taken back to Vaikuntha, the process will be tough and painful. Surrender is something which we have to do repeatedly. By constantly remembering Him.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Practical Essence of Gita

'The Essence of Gita' which I have explained in the previous post is the popular and widely accepted one. Apart from that I have come up with another 'essence' from 'THE GITA.' I would like to call it 'The Practical Essence of Gita' which is a list of guidelines I picked up from The Gita and put into practice.

'The Essence of Gita' is easy to understand and accept, theoretically. But to have a mind set that it suggests, we need a lot of practice. May be even years together. What we need to do is not versatile. It is going to be the same action day by day. A mere repetition of simple steps which I list as the 'Practical essence of Gita.'

They are,
1. Surrender
2. Remembering God
3. Dedication to God
4. Selfless Work
4. Chanting
5. Meditation
6. Healthy Breathing
7. Healthy Eating

I will explain each of them in detail in the forthcoming posts.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Essence of Gita


That which has happened
Happened well!
That which happens
Happens well!
That which will happen
Will happen well!
What have you lost,
that was yours?
For what do you lament?
What have you brought,
that you can loose?
What have you created,
that can get spoiled?
What ever you took,
you took from here!
What ever you give away,
You give them, back here!
What ever is your's today,
will be some other person's tomorrow!
And the day after,
it will be a third person's possession.
This is the eternal rule!
The essence of my creation!

Krishna knows the nature of human mind. He knows that the human mind is like a pendulum. It keeps oscillating from the present to the past, past to the present and from the present to the future. It keeps going on and on this way, leaving the individual soul with anxiety about the future, with regrets of the past and with restlessness in the present.

Krishna the Master psychiatrist, wants to remove this psychological disorder from us.

Hence he reassures us.

That which has happened has happened well. Never regret for the past.
That which is happening is happening well. Be at peace with the moment, shedding of your restlessness.
That which is yet to happen, will happen well. Don't be anxious. Be cool. It is not going to go out of control.

Regretting about the past, you waste the present. Wasting the present, you fail to mould the future. Hence, always be at peace with the moment. Only the present is true. The past and future are just the conceptions of the mind. They exist only in your mind and never in truth. So always stick with the truth and be in the present.

This reminds me of a dialogue that comes in the cartoon movie, Kungfu Panda.

"The past is dead. The future is never born. All you have in hand is now. And that's why it is called present."

Human mind tends to get attached to persons, places, things and experiences. When the mind is not attached, it feels like removing a dress from the body while losing it. When it gets attached, it feels as though the skin is being peeled of from the body. This leaves the individual soul in sorrow, pain and misery.

Krishna knows that every individual soul will have to loose what ever it possesses.

Krishna the supreme soul wants to protect the individual soul from the misery of pain that arises while loosing things that it is attached to. Hence, he warns before hand.

The soul is like a fire. Thinking is the act of burning. When the thinking burns bright, the garbage of the mind gets burnt down and the soul becomes a pure, smokeless flame.
Krishna kindles this fire by questions that fuel the thinking process.

Krishna wants the individual to realise that nothing is his/her's. Hence he asks, "What did you loose which was your's?"

Krishna doesn't pacify the soul that cries. Instead he poses a question, "Why do you cry?"

He says, "You came with nothing. You created nothing. Nothing was your possession. Nothing was your creation. But still you mourn, thinking you have lost something. How could you loose something, when you never had anything?"

He says, "You have nothing to loose. Nor anything to get spoiled. Don't worry. Just be free."

By saying this he attempts to completely remove all the stress, guilt, anxiety, tension, regrets, worries, sorrows and pains off the mind.

When the mind is clouded, the soul is in stress.
When the mind is free, the soul is free.

There is a very beautiful song sung by Maestro Ilayaraja in Tamil, that conveys the same message. When ever I hear the song in his deeply mesmerizing voice, I feel tremendously nourished and reassured. It sets my nerves on a spree to The Gita Way of living. Translation of the song is below.

The one who sowed the seed,
will water the plants!

Seeing the quality of the mind,
he changes the quality of life!

Oh mind, don't get baffled,
nor worry needlessly.

All your burdens,
Will be shouldered by the Creator Himself.

Om Shanthi Om!
Om Shanthi Om!
Om Shanthi Om!
Om Shanthi Om!

When the creator supports you,
why do you look for other's support?
When the courage resides in your heart,
Why muster grievance?

To make a man out of you
So good and clean!
Who is the one,
who conceived the idea?
Who can recognize Him?

A day will come
when the world will sing your glory!

Om Shanthi Om!
Om Shanthi Om!
Om Shanthi Om!
Om Shanthi Om!

Learn to help the helpless!
Learn to feed the food less!

For the one who has intelligence
What is the need of bookish knowledge?
For the one who has the power
Where is the difficulty in righteousness?

Who knows the count of men,
awaiting to be defeated by you?

Om Shanthi Om!
Om Shanthi Om!
Om Shanthi Om!
Om Shanthi Om!

Though the last six lines are irrelevant to the topic discussed in the post, I have given the translation because they suggest selfless service and the fighting for uplift of Dharma which is again a guidance from The Gita.

To watch the video of the song in youtube.com, click here.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

About the Teacher!


Krishna...!

How much has been said about him? And yet, how much remains unsaid? How many perspectives to this one man? How many faces? How many colours? How many different roles?

What we have undergone Krishna knows. What Krishna has undergone, none of us know!

He had been a fish!
He had been a tortoise!
He had been a boar!
He had been a lion!
He had been a man bound with anger and vengeance, as Parasurama!
He had been the Perfect Man, as Lord Rama!

He not only knows how it is to be a man. He also knows, how it is to be a woman!
He has subjected himself to pregnancy and has given birth to Swami Iyyappa!
He knows the pain and joy of being a mother!

If you are a teenager, fallen in love, you can look unto him. RadheShyam, knows how you feel!
If you are a lover who is seperated from your beloved, SitaRam knows your longing!
If you are dealing with your enemies, you can look unto him for strategies!
If you are an artist, you can look unto him for nuances!

He knows, how it is to worship. He knows, how it is to be worshipped.
He is a musician, a warrior, a philosopher, a ruler, a political strategist, a mystic, a cow herd and a charioteer.

What is in Krishna, you can find anywhere else.
But what is not in Krishna, you can't find anywhere else.

The Holy Gita is about transcending,
from the limited to the unlimited!
From transitory to the eternal!
From bondage to freedom!

It is not just about transcending. But also about enjoying the process!
It is not just about traveling from earth to heaven, but also about enjoying the journey!

And Krishna is a Master in this!

We are ordinary humans. We are bound by hunger, thirst, love, hate, anger, agreability, pain, pleasure, desire, aversion and much more.

Krishna is the supreme Lord. He has bounded himself in all these! And, he has transcended back to the unbound state, over and over again.

He knows how it is to be imprisoned in the body. And he knows how it is to feel free, in the cosmos at large!

He has bound himself a number of times and unbound himself as many times!

This is why I like to look upon God Almighty, as Krishna.

Krishna did not just create the universe and stay away from it, intervening only to give boons and punishments.

He participates in it! Shoulder to shoulder! Rolling up his sleeves and tucking in his shirt, he gets down to work with us. Gives us demonstration. He experiences our pleasure and pain. He sings and dances. He fights his enemies and romances women. He eats, sleeps and breathes like all of us. He performs and gets rewarded. He flaws and pays the price.

What ever he preaches to Arjuna as Krishna, he had practised with sincerety in his previous incarnation, as Rama. That is why Lord Rama, never performed any miracles except for the liberation of Ahalya. And even that happens without Lord Rama's conscious effort. Because as Lord Rama, he wanted to be a role model for men. He put himself in a state that is equal to that of a human being. And did all that is expected of a human being in his creation.

What we have undergone, Krishna knows. What Krishna has undergone, none of us know!

That is what makes him qualify, to be the teacher!

A respectable teacher, when you realise his experience!

A lovable teacher, when you realise that it is the God Almighty, who had subjected himself to such experiences, for the simple reason that he did not want to give something to us without tasting it first!


Friday, October 17, 2008

ABOUT THE STUDENT

Arjuna was the lucky soul to whom The Gita was revealed. What makes Arjuna qualify to receive this divine message? Why not some one else?

It was Yudhistra who was known for his righteousness.
It was Karna who was known for his generosity.
It were Nagula and Sahadeva who were well versed with the Vedas and other holy scriptures.
Bhima was a greater devotee to both Krishna and Shiva than Arjuna. There are many stories where Arjuna was made to realize the value of Bhima's humble devotion.
Arjuna hadn't maintained any celibacy like his grandfather Bhishma.

Apart from them there were also a number of great souls who excelled both in 'penance' and in 'devotion.' Leaving all those exalted souls, Krishna chose Arjuna to deliver this divine secret. Why?

The answer is there in The Gita itself.

Krishna says, "Arjuna, fight this war. If you win, the kingdom is yours and you will enjoy all the pleasures in the world that a King would enjoy. Even if you loose you will be in heaven for doing your duty and giving up your life for a noble cause."

Arjuna says, "Krishna I don't want to have a kingdom nor any pleasures of this world nor a place in heaven that would come to me by killing my own kith and kin."

I think this was the quality in Arjuna which made him qualify to receive this Holy message on behalf of mankind from the creator. Not that he did not want any wealth, comfort or luxury.He did not want them at the cost of killing his own fellow men.

Like in the poem ABOU BEN ADHEM by James Henry Leigh Hunt.

"What writest thou?' asked Abou
The angel said, "The names of those who love the Lord"
"And is mine one?" said Abou.
"Nay, not so," Replied the angel.
Abou spoke low," I pray thee, then, Write me as one who love his fellow men."
The angel wrote and vanished. The next night it came again
And showed the names whom love of God had blessed
And lo, Ben Adhem's name led all the rest!

A similar incident happens in the life of Sri Ramanujar, a great devotee of Lord Krishna.

It so happened that Sri Ramanujar's Guru gave him the mantra, "Om Namo Narayanaya" and told him not to chant it in front of low caste people. The reason the teacher gave was that, this mantra was most purifying and even those who hear it will reach the abode of God Almighty. But the one who chants it in such a way that the low caste can hear will end up in hell.

Sri Ramanuja climbed up to the top of a temple. Called each and every individual in the village and screamed the Mantra at the top of his voice so that as many people can hear him.

The Guru was quite annoyed with his act and asked him, "Did I not tell you that you will go to hell if you do this? Don't you have faith in my words?"

Sri Ramanuja said, "I do have faith in your words sir. I thought, if I could send these many people to heaven, then me going to hell would be a very small price to pay."

Later the Guru himself surrendered to Sri Ramanuja and became his disciple.

I think this is what makes one qualify to read The Gita.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Pictorial representation fo The Gita.



The picture above is the one which represents The Gita (or a similar picture). This picture is truly a pictorial representation of The Gita. It is pregnant with the essence of The Gita.

You can see that Krishna is driving Arjuna in a chariot pulled by strong, powerful and vibrant horses in the war field. There is a flag on the chariot with Hanuman's picture on it.

Understanding the meaning of this picture by itself is as good as understanding the whole Gita.

Let me first tell what each item in the picture corresponds to in our daily life.

The field in which the chariot travels- The earth, where we live.
The war- Life with problems and challenges.
Chariot- Our physical body.
Horses- Our mind.
Krishna's whip- Human intelligence.
Pandavas Army- Merits earned by us.
Kauravas Army- sins accumulated by us.
Arjuna- Arjuna represent you and me, the individual consciousness.
Krishna- Krishna represents the consciousness in us. The super conscious mind.
Hanuman- Devotion and selfless service to the almighty.

The earth we live in is the field where we experience both good and evil. There are some who support us (like the pandava army that supports Arjuna) and some who are against us(like kaurava army that fights against Arjuna). On deep understanding we will realize that it is our own merits that come to our support and our own sins that act against us. On deeper understanding the previous statement is nullified. Because on deeper understanding we will realize that it was God almighty who did everything. We neither can be proud of our merits nor need to be ashamed of our sins. By which all complexities, that is both superiority complex and inferiority complex, are removed.

The war- Life is like a war. We need to face challenges. We might have to take tough decisions. We can never guess from which direction a problem may come. We often get deluded by false values, we get depressed when the fight is too tough. That is exactly why The Gita has been delivered on a war field. The place where highest tension, confusion and chaos prevails.

Our physical body corresponds to the chariot. It needs to be strong and healthy. As the chariot is pulled by the horses the body is pulled by the mind. In which ever direction the mind travels, in that direction the body does travel. For eg., you want to eat something, immediately you move to the place where you can get something to eat.

There are more reasons for comparing the horse to the mind. Our mind has more than one abilities and personalities. Each horse represents one such personality of the mind. Eg., the mind which has a taste for food, The mind which has a taste for music, The mind which has a taste for sight etc., There can be any number of horses, the more multi-talented you are, the more number of horses. The more number of horses the more difficult to control them. All these horses must be harnessed and trained in such a way that they work in harmony with each other in an integrated way.

Training the mind and the horses is also similar. We can't be too strict with it. It will not co-operate. At the same time if we are too liberal with it, it will tend to go on its own way. So we need to do our work, spiritual practises regularly. At the same time we need to relax ourselves by listening to good music, going for a walk , reading my blogs :) etc etc., The mind will start to co-operate with you fully. And will be as healthy, vibrant as those horses driven by Krishna.

The whip in Krishna's hands is the human intellect. When our intellect is in hold of the consciousness, it never drives the mind in a wrong direction. The curb in the hand of Krishna is the individual's fate. The human mind is in the hold of fate. When we surrender to God, he takes our fate in his hands and drives us in the field of life.

Arjuna is the individual ego or individual consciousness. You and me. We reside in our body, which is the chariot. Krishna, the universal consciousness or the super consciousness, does not drive the life of all individuals on earth. He drives the lives of those who surrender at his feet. Now, by Krishna I don't mean the name and form. It can be anybody whom you can completely rely on. It can be Jesus Christ, or Buddha or even your own parents. Anybody whom you respect and to whom you can surrender your ego completely.

On the flag there is a picture of Lord Hanuman. Hanuman is known for his devotion and selfless service to the Lord. Flag is used to represent for what we stand. Our life should represent highest devotion and selfless service to the Lord.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Misconceptions about reading Gita.

There are numerous misconceptions and superstitions about reading The Gita. The following are a few examples.

1.It must be read only after taking bath, wearing clean clothes and applying talcum powder on the face.
2.The Gita is only for the old. Which is as stupid as saying, you must start living only three days before your death.
3. Youngsters who read The Gita will become monks.
4.Those who indulge in sensual pleasures must not read it. This is like saying those who drive the car too fast must not wear seat belts.
5.Newly married couple should stay exactly 108 feet away from it.
6.You must read it only in the Pooja room.
7.Those who eat non-vegetarian food should not touch it.
8.You can read it only if you know Sanskrit, or only if you are a brahmin.

There are many more such misconceptions.

I've seen people react funnily towards The Gita.

After reading The Gita for the first time I felt inspired and confident. I wanted to tell this to my dad so that he'll feel reassured about my future performances. I said, "Dad I've read around 12 chapters from The Gita." He looked at me as though I said that I had a fever, 105 degree Fahrenheit.

Once I gifted the Tamil version of Gita by poet Vali to one of my seniors at work a few days after his marriage. He received the wrapped gift with the best smile possible. The next day when i saw him he looked away. I thought may be he had something else in his mind. I went close to him and smiled. He stared at me as though he was trying to collect his body heat, send it through his eyes and burn me down. I really couldn't understand what happened. Later he told my friend that I had gifted him The Gita. He had told, "What does he think? Am I getting married and preparing for my honeymoon or am I taking Sannyasa and going to Kasi." ( Refer to point 5)

I've also met a brahmin who condemned me for claiming to have read and understood The Gita. (I am not holding any grudge against brahmins. Many brahmins have helped me too)