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Approaching Bhagavadgita PDF Print E-mail
Gita - Gita Articles

We have already examined about how Gita is a Shashtra of different perspectives. I also mentioned that Gita is a search for me, what I should have said or what I meant is that Gita is a search, period. It should be a search for all of us. And, soon we will find out that Gita is book of different techniques. This has to be understood deeply before we explore Gita further.

There are several yogas in Gita starting from Vishad yoga and going on to Karma yoga, Gyan yoga etc. Yoga means techniques, techniques to bring you to the center. We all have a center but we live off of it. The techniques that bring you to the center are yoga techniques. We have already examined how the yoga techniques differ from the growth programs that we have for personal growth. The growth programs or techniques are meant to improve certain aspects of life e.g. performance, conflict resolution etc. Yoga is meant to grow you as a whole, as you get centered, you also grow higher on the vertical plane. Yoga can be defined in modern terms as means and techniques for a centering growth. Patanjali’s definition of yoga as “Yoga is the cessation of mind (yogaschitta nirodhaya) is difficult to comprehend today.

The search starts with interest or desire of some sort. Some people have no interest in any such centering and we do not need to discuss about them right now. The interest may start with a simple curiosity or an inquiry. The inquiry is like a longing, which has to be fulfilled, or like a thirst that has to be quenched. The curiosity could be just a fleeting interest, may be genuine or may be just going with the fashion. It is obvious that Duryodhana has no interest in centering growth while Arjuna has the longing and thirst for the same.

The curiosity is usually purely academic. Once you have some answers or some knowledge, you are able to take part in certain conversations and feel good about it. Now you know what is Nishkam Karma and you can discuss it or even give a talk on it. But, you do not have do live it. You are not going to practice it. You are not ready to let Gita descend in your life. Some knowledge is good and that satisfies your curiosity.

An inquiry is a different phenomenon. Arjuna goes on asking. Krishna goes on answering. Krishna is changing his level all the time. Sometimes he answers from the peak, the peak where he is, the peak that Parmatma is, and the other times he comes down to the level of Arjuna, a level where most of us live and exist. At times he tells Arjuna the principles, the other times he talks about techniques and yet another times he tells how a yogi behaves and goes on an on. It is like a flow, a continuum.

Yes Gita is fluid and there is a flow. Try to experience it. Try to get a dip in the flow. Mr. Santhanagopal has called it a bottomless ocean and to some extent I agree with that. I have a friend who loves sailng. He was telling me about his sailing trip in the Atlantic Ocean to the Bahamas. He was in a race. They were so excited when they reached the Gulf Stream. The stream is few miles wide and it is flow of warm wonderful water. You have to jump in and enjoy this flow in the midst of this ocean. Gita may be a bottomless ocean but I do experience a flow and warmth in it too. Let us all experience it. To experience this you have to meditate on every word and every shloka that we go through.

What we see or read in the written words are just the waves, just the surface. Much lies in between the words. What Sanjay could catch has been manifested as words, what happened between Krishna and Arjuna still exists and that is that flow. I will describe another experience that we had recently. We (me and my wife Lekha) went white water rafting recently in the Kennebec River in Maine. The experience was so wonderful. We had been through the roughest waters (grade 5) and were in the slower one (grade 1-2) and at that time we jumped out of the Raft. All of us had this float around our chest. And then we were just lying down flat on this rapid water. The sun was shining, the water temperature was 72 degrees and the flow was beautiful. You could close your eyes and just float. Just let yourself flow in the stream of Gita, close your eyes and just flow with the current.

We do not read Gita like any other book. We read it again and again. We call it Paath. It is not meant to be read like a novel or a textbook. The west may find it difficult to understand. We do akhand path of Ramayan, no break on reading the scripture for one week or even a month. We read Durga Shaptashati every day for nine days every year. Thousands of people are reading it over and over again. What is going on? Are these people mad? Or, Do they know something that we do not? I feel that this is a technique of creating an undercurrent of the shashtra in our life. Once you start living with the shashtra the real meaning then starts appearing in front of you. This may or may not be true, but, it is worth the exploring further. If you find a different meaning and reasoning behind, so be it. Try to make Gita your life’s undercurrent. Let it purify you and replace some other undercurrents that are flowing in your system.

Bhagavad-Gita has to be imbibed, has to be lived and the flow has to be experienced. On the path of the search, every step has two sides; the beginning of the step and the End. The beginning will always be a conscious effort. A struggle will be there. Sometimes we will fall, sometimes we will fall asleep, sometimes we will forget and sometimes we will go astray. Again and again we will have to remember to come back to the path. Again and again we will have to make more intense efforts to stay on the path. There will be ups and there will be downs. Sometimes we will feel miserable and frustrated. Whenever the contact with the method is lost and whenever we go astray, a frustration and even depression may follow. There will be moments of intense happiness too specially when you regain control of it. There is of course no limit to the intense happiness when glimpses of the divine appear, the first time you feel the flow of the divine, the flow of Gita, you are bound to be overjoyed. Peaks and valleys will be there and they will disappear when the conscious effort has disappeared.

The Upanishads say that there are two kinds of non-attachment:

“There are two kinds of non-attachment: the ordinary and the sublime. That attitude of non-attachmentto the objects of desire in which the seeker knows that he is neither the doer nor the enjoyer, neither the restrained nor the restrainer, is called ordinary non-attachment……………

When thoughts like: ‘I am not the doer, my past deeds are the doer, or Parmatma himself is the doer,’ cease to worry the seeker, a state of silence, equilibrium and peace is attained. This is called sublime non-attachment.”

In real terms this is not very different from learning to ride a bike. In the beginning you have to make a conscious effort to learn. You fall and sometimes get hurt. At times you get frustrated. I was teaching my daughter Nivedita how to ride a bike and I actually got so frustrated that I gave up on her. And one day she was riding it as if there was no end to it. The conscious effort had dropped. It is not needed any more. Now you can go on talking and drinking and still ride your bike.

One last thing to realize in this path is that you are not alone. There are many of us together. We all help each other in some unknown ways. We may not even know each other and still because we are on the same path, the help is there. It is like hiking the Grand Canyon. You do not know the other people who are hiking there. They are from all over the world. But once they see you in trouble or even perceive that you may need a bottle of water, the bottle of water appears. Someone who you have never known, who you have never met comes up to you and offers this water that you so desperately need to drink. He or she continues and so do you. There may have been no other conversation. You may never meet them again.

But, most importantly, the divine is there with you as well. It is common saying that you take one step towards the Parmatma and the Parmatma takes a thousand steps towards you. This one step reduces the distance between you and Him several orders of magnitude. We all are familiar with the forces of gravitation but there is another force that works kind of opposite to the downward pull. This is the pull upwards and is called Grace. The Parmatma’s forces of Grace start working on you once you start on this path of search.

So, let’s open up to Krishna
Let us follow Arjuna on this Search
Let us flow with the current and
Let the forces of Grace work on us.

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