18 February 2015
“Our bodies are known to end, but the embodied self is enduring, indestructible, and immeasurable; therefore, Arjuna, fight the battle!” (2-18)
“This is the place of the infinite spirit; achieving it, one is freed from delusion; abiding in it even at the time of death, one finds the pure calm of infinity” (2-72)
A man who sees inaction in action and action in inaction has understanding among men, disciplined in all action he performs” (4-18)
The true essence of The Bhagavad-Gita The Bhagavad-Gita is considered to be one of the greatest spiritual books of Hindu culture and has been of great influence to both India and the West. The Sanskrit title is interpreted to mean “Song of the Lord” due to it being a philosophical poem in the form of dialogue between the warrior Arjuna and the Supreme Lord Krishna. The dramatic moral crisis that is central to the Bhagavad-Gita deals with identity and self-realization and the process one must undergo to establish their eternal relationship with God. The Bhagavad-Gita has also inspired many Indian and Western philosophers such as Mahatma Gandhi because of the way in which its knowledge and wisdom applies to all human beings and does not have a certain ideology or secular view. It is open to all different interpretations and is approachable from all different realms of religion. Through its compelling discourse and imagery, The Bhagavad-Gita is able to illuminate the realization of the true nature of divinity and the essence of duty and morality.
The context of The Bhagavad-Gita is based on the idea of self-identity and performing one’s duty in order to achieve personal salvation. This is achieved through the dilemma of the warrior Arjuna and his war against his relatives on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Arjuna is conflicted because the enemies are his own kinsmen, however it is his duty as a warrior to fight and he doesn’t want to be seen as a coward so he calls onto Krishna in order to help him resolve his problem. Arjuna’s conflict is capable of sympathy because of his impulse to shy away from unnecessary violence and Krishna’s teaching is able to aid him in understanding his own and others’ morality. All of the verses in The Bhagavad-Gita are of essential significance to Krishna’s teaching yet there are a few that best serve the overall message. One of the verses in Chapter 2, Verse 18 deal with the idea of the immortality of the soul and how there is no eternal existence for the physical body. Just as when a mirror is destroyed, the reflection of the mirror is also destroyed but this is not the case when dealing with the soul. Even if the physical body is destroyed, the soul is never destroyed because it is eternal. This is due to the fact that the presence of the imperceivable Supreme Lord is within the hearts of all who acknowledge him. Thus, the soul itself is the reflector through the medium of individual consciousness. Krishna uses this teaching as a way to persuade Arjuna to perform his duty as a warrior since the soul is distinct from the body and cannot be compromised by physical delusions. Chapter 2 verse 72 also illustrates Krishna’s teaching fully in dealing with karma, dharma, and the immortal soul. This verse concludes the end of chapter 2 by revealing the consciousness that is achieved by someone who performs all actions unattached and without reward based on knowledge of the eternal soul. This is known as the state of brahmi or that which attains the ultimate truth. By achieving this state, one is liberated and enters the eternal spiritual worlds yet without it one is compelled to enter into the cycle of birth and death known as samsara. Krishna explains to Arjuna that all action should be performed as a matter of duty (dharma) without the desire for reward and by having spiritual knowledge of karma-yoga one becomes qualified to realize their spiritual body and the sublime bliss that