When I first read the Bhagvad Gita as a kid (read the kiddie-version), I couldn’t help but wonder what made it hold its position in the Hindu Dharma. After all, it was just a story, and frankly I had read far better novels at that point of time. It was only a few years later when I was handed the original piece of literature, did I weigh its importance. Honestly, I haven’t read beyond the first stanza of the Gita. Not because I am skeptical about it, (in fact it’s quite the opposite), but because I feel I am not mature enough to understand the true meaning of the Gita- at least not yet.
Anyway, I did read the first stanza of the Gita, so I would like to share a few thoughts…
Sound tough? Or rather aimless? Aimless is what I felt the first time I read it, until I read the commentary by Paramhans Yogananda, which prods the reader to introspect further and deeper into the intention of the Gita.
This introductory stanza of the Bhagvad Gita is an enquiry by the blind king ‘dhritarashtra’( the blind mind) over the outcome of the war between the Pandus( the pure discriminative tendencies, or more definitively, intellect ) and the Kurus( the wicked impulses) on the holy battlefield of Kurukshetra( kuru- kri- meaning work, activity + kshetra-field ) . He assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the two opposing forces, namely the good and the bad and the motives behind each of their actions.
Our mind has two basic forces working hard in the confines of our brain to reign supreme- One, our intellect, the power of self control, aiding actions that help us grow, the power that draws our consciousness toward truth, and the other- the perilous force that draws us away from the first- the blind mind. Think of it as a constant tug of war between the two, and our mind is forever locked in conflict. When was the last time you took a decision without having a second though? Have you ever felt guilty after doing something? That second though, that guilt is in fact, the two forces in conflict. The final destination of our mind, its purpose of being, is to achieve a state of being reigned by pure cosmic energy- the energy to discriminate without any doubt- which in turn helps our soul reach its destination (I believe that every human has a purpose in this world, a purpose waiting to be fulfilled, and that a man without purpose should rather find creative ways to go to meet your maker… P.S. no pun intended)
The Gita through the first stanza explains the importance of daily self-introspection, so that one can clearly discern which of the two- the good or the evil, has won the daily battle. To harness the strength of the cosmic power, one must constantly ask himself- *“Gathered together on the sacred bodily tract- the field of good and evil actions- what did my opposing tendencies do? Which side won today in the ceaseless struggle? The crooked, tempting, evil tendencies and the opposing forces of self discipline and discrimination- come now, tell me, what did they do?”*
* from the commentary by Paramhansa Yogananda…