Hindu, Hinduism and Hindustan: Part XLI

Marvels & Gems of Srimad Bhagavad Gita - Part II

Continued from Part XL

Midway during the discourse, Prince Arjuna names seven terms Brahman, Adhiyatma, Adhibhuta, Adhidaiva, Adhiyajna, Karma and Death with a request to Shree Krishna to explain it, in the first two verses of Chapter 8 of Srimad Bhagavad Gita. These terms were mentioned by Krishna in His earlier teachings and Arjuna was curious to know such details. Among other things, he was also keen to learn how a person could remember God at the time of death. Lord Krishna responded as follows:

Shri Bhagavan uvacha:
Aksharam brahma paramam svabhavo ’dhyatmam uchyate,
Bhuta-bhavodbhava-karo visargah karma-sanjnitah.

(Sri Bhagwan said: The Supreme Indestructible Entity is Brahman; one’s own self is called Adhyatma (soul). Actions pertaining to the material personality of living beings, and its development is called Karma.) (BG: Chapter 8, Verse 3)

Adhibhutam ksharo bhavah purushash chadhidaivatam
Adhiyajno ’ham evatra dehe deha-bhritam vara.

(The physical manifestation that is constantly changing is called Adhibhuta; the shining Purusha (Brahman), Who presides over the celestial gods in this creation, is Adhidaiva; I Myself dwelling in the every living being, am Adhiyajna, O Arjuna!) (BG: Chapter 8, Verse 4)

Shree Krishna says that the Supreme Entity is called Brahman; in Hindu scriptures, Vedas and Upanishads, this Supreme Entity is referred to by several other names too such as Isvara, Paramatma, Hiranyagarbha, Purusha, Satchitananda etc. He is beyond space, time, and the chain of cause and effect; these features being of the material realm, while Brahman is transcendental to the material plane. In Hinduism, the path of spirituality is called Adhyatma, while the term is also used to denote one’s own Self or Adhiyatma that incorporates the soul, body, mind, and intellect. Karma is a cumulative term for the actions performed by the Self, which dictates the transmigration of soul through the Samsara (the cycle of material existence). Adhibhuta essentially comprised of five elements namely earth, water, fire, air and space that form the basis for the material existence of the universe. Brahman is Adhidaiva because He has sovereignty over all celestial or divine existence and also Adhiyajna because He dwells in all living beings as Paramatma (Supreme Soul).

The Bhagavad Gita explicitly acknowledges the Brahman (Supreme God) and individual soul (Self) as only eternal and true entities. The concept of the reincarnation of the individual souls, their delusion and bondage to the cycle of birth and death due to inter-play of gunas or qualities and desire-ridden actions are the cumulative products of Karma, already explained in previous part. Moksha or salvation is the only solution for getting rid of this vicious cycle. The questions and curiosities of Prince Arjuna about the Brahman (Supreme God) and Adhyatma (Self or soul) have been well explained by Lord Krishna in the Chapters 2, 8 and elsewhere. These spiritual aspects of life including death are briefly explained in the following paragraphs.

Brahman (God)

The nature of the Brahman as an indestructible and transcendental entity is cited in the verse 8.3 as already mentioned in the opening paragraph. More aspects of the nature and functionalities of Brahman are explained in the following verses:

Kavim puranamanusasitara manoraniyamasamanusmareedyah,
Sarvasya dhataramacintyarupa madityavarnam tamasah parastat.

(God is Omniscient, the most ancient and ageless being, the Ruler of all, subtler than the subtlest, the Support of all, and the possessor of an inconceivable divine form; He is brighter than the sun, and beyond all darkness of ignorance.) (BG: Chapter 8, Verses 9)

Yad aksharam veda-vido vadanti vishanti yad yatayo vita-ragah,
Yad ichchhanto brahmacharyam charanti tat te padam sangrahena pravakshye.

{Scholars of the Vedas describe Him as Imperishable; great ascetics practice the vow of celibacy and renounce worldly pleasures to enter into Him. I shall now tell you briefly about that Supreme goal (God, Who is embodiment of Truth, Knowledge and Bliss).} (BG: Chapter 8, Verse 11)

Shree Krishna says that all the realms are liable to appear and reappear but after attaining the Supreme goal (Brahman) there is no more divagation or disorientation in the Samsara in the form of rebirth because He (Brahman) is beyond time, regions or space. Other truth is all embodiments take place from the Unmanifest (i.e. Brahman’s subtle being) and ultimately merge into the same.

Avyakto ’ká¹£hara ityuktas tam ahuh paramam gatim,
Yam prapya na nivartante tad dhama paramam mama.

(The same unmanifest which is spoken as the Indestructible is also the Supreme goal; and upon reaching it, one never returns to this mortal world.) (BG: Chapter 8, Verse 21)

At yet another point, Shree Krishna says that the God is omniscient i.e. He is all-wise, all-knowing, all-seeing. In other words, He is trikal-darshi i.e. he has knowledge of the past, present, and future. His spread is so vast that He is aware of all thoughts, words and deeds of the infinite souls in the universe, at every moment of their life, and in each of their infinite lifetimes that forms the accumulate karmas of every soul.

Vedaham samatitani vartamanani charjuna,
Bhavishyani cha bhutani mam tu veda na kashchana.

(O Arjuna, I know of the past, present, and future, and I also know all living beings; but none, devoid of faith and reverence, knows Me.) (BG: Chapter 7, Verse 26)

Finally, Shree Krishna also reveals Himself as the impersonal Brahman, Who is immortal, imperishable and eternal and is the constitutional position of ultimate happiness.

Brahmano hi pratishthaham amritasyavyayasya cha,
Shashvatasya cha dharmasya sukhasyaikantikasya cha.

(I am the basis of the formless Brahman, the immortal and imperishable, of eternal dharma, and of unending divine bliss.) (BG: Chapter 14, Verse 27)

In Hinduism, some people are convinced about the formless nature of God, while others see God in a personal form such as Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva, Sri Ram or Shree Krishna. In fact, both the views are restrictive and incomplete. God is perfect, He exists both formless and with a form. This has also been discussed in the beginning of discourse, when Shree Krishna mentions the importance of Jnan-yoga; he says that the senses are greater than the body; the mind is greater than the senses; the intellect is greater than the mind; and the Self (soul) is greater than the intellect. On the other hand, desire is the major enemy that obstructs Jnana and Vijnana. Here Jnana refers to the knowledge of Absolute or Nirguna Brahman and Vijnanana is the knowledge of Saguna Brahman.

Shree Krishna told Arjuna that He had revealed the knowledge of Supreme Truth to Vivasvan (Sun-God), at the beginning of creation and He is imparting the same knowledge to him now (Chapter 4). To this, Arjuna becomes skeptical that the two of them are of recent origin while the Vivasvan dates back to remote antiquity. Krishna then reveals that the two of them have passed through many births; the difference remains that Krishna remembers them all while Arjuna remembers none. Then He explains that despite being immortal and birth-less, He manifests Himself through Yogamaya (divine potency), keeping His nature (Prakriti) under control. This position has been explained in the earlier part as well - whenever righteousness is on decline, God manifests on earth for the protection of the virtuous and establishing Dharma (righteousness). This aspect of Saguna Brahman again finds a reference in the following verse of Chapter 7.

Avyaktam vyaktim apannam manyante mam abuddhayah,
Param bhavam ajananto mamavyayam anuttamam.

(The less enlightened think that I (Lord Krishna) was formless earlier and have now assumed this personality. They do not understand the imperishable exalted nature of my personal form.) (BG: Chapter 7, Verse 24)

Shree Krishna says that only by knowing and remembering Brahman one can achieve liberation from the vicious cycle of rebirth. It is through the liberation that an embodied Self returns to its original state of pure consciousness, which is immortal, blissful and imperishable because in that embodied state, the Self is the same as Brahman in original nature. However, as entity the Supreme Self is absolutely expansive, pervasive and independent, while the Individual Self is dependent upon Him. This concept is similar to Advaita philosophy of the Vedanta School of Hindu Darshanas.

Om ity ekaksaram brahma vyaharan mam anusmaran,
Yah prayati tyajan deham sa yati paramam gatim.

(One who departs from the body while remembering Me, the Supreme Personality, and chanting the syllable Om, will attain the supreme goal.) (BG: Chapter 8, Verse 13)

Adhiyatma (Soul)

In the Bhagavad Gita, the Chapter 2, Verse 17 to 25 deals with the nature, qualities and action of the imperishable soul. Shree Krishna says that the soul is imperishable and no one in this universe has power to destroy this entity. Some people think that the soul is capable of killing while others think that it can be killed; both are ignorant and mistaken because the souls is imperishable, indefinable and eternal.

Na jayate mriyate va kadachin nayam bhutva bhavita va na bhuyah,
Ajo nityah shashvato ayam purano na hanyate hanyamane sharire.

(The soul is neither born, nor does it ever die; nor having once existed, does it ever cease to be. The soul is unborn, eternal, immortal and primeval. It is not destroyed when the body is destroyed.) (BG: Chapter 2, Verse 20)

The eternal nature of the soul has been explained in the aforesaid verse, which is everlasting and beyond the birth and death. It is not prone to six material transformations namely conception in the womb, birth, growth, procreation, diminution and death. The aforesaid transformations impact the perishable body and not of the Self (soul). To that extent, the death is merely destruction of the body, while the immortal soul remains unaffected. This concept is also explained many times in Vedas and Upanishads; for instance, The Brihadaranyaka Upaniá¹£had (4.4.25) states “sa va esha mahan aja atmajaro ’maro ’mrito ’bhayah (The soul is glorious, unborn, deathless, free from old age, immortal, and fearless).

Shree Krishna tells the deluded Arjuna that when you know about the true imperishable nature of the soul, whom you are actually going to kill then; indeed, it is only the bodies which in any case are destined to be perished. Then He explains what happens to the soul when it leaves the perishable body.

Vasamsi jirnani yatha vihaya Navani grhnati naro 'parani,
Tatha sarirani vihaya jirnany Anyani samyati navani dehi.

(As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, similarly, the embodied soul accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones.) (BG: Chapter 2, Verse 22)

Continuing to explain the true nature of the soul, Krishna creates an analogy of the concept of rebirth with that of the routine of changing clothes when they are worn out and useless. Like we discard outdated clothes for new ones, in the same way the soul discards worn out body on death only to resume its destiny elsewhere.

Nainam chhindanti shastrani nainam dahati pavakah,
Na chainam kledayantyapo na shoshayati marutah.

(Weapons cannot cut the soul, nor can fire burn it. Water cannot wet it, nor can the wind dry it.) (BG: Chapter 2, Verse 23)

Consciousness, which is the symptom of the soul, can be perceived by material instruments, but the soul itself cannot be contacted by any material object. This is so only because the soul is divine, and hence beyond the interactions of material objects. Shree Krishna expresses this vividly by saying that wind cannot wither the soul, nor can water moisten it or fire burn it.

Achchhedyo ’yam adahyo ’yam akledyo ’shoá¹£hya eva cha,
Nityah sarva-gatah sthanur achalo ’yam sanatanah.

(The soul is unbreakable and incombustible; it can neither be dampened nor dried. It is everlasting, in all places, unalterable, immutable, and primordial.) (BG: Chapter 2, Verse 24)

In the next few verses, Shree Krishna tells Arjuna that knowing the immutable and unmanifest nature of soul, there is no reason for him to grieve. Also the idea that it is subject to recurring birth and death (of body) should not be a cause for his grief because it is inevitable what is born is also liable for the death. Therefore, the person should not grieve for what is inevitable.

The essence of Lord Krishna’s peroration was that the soul (Self) remains unchanged with all time and circumstances while remaining entangled with Samsara i.e. the cycle of life, death and rebirth, in a karmic cycle. The good and bad deeds in life return as reward or punishment and it is the call or compulsion of unspent Karma that compels the soul in a recurring cycle of successive lifetimes. Moksha is the only supreme goal to get riddance from the karmic cycle by achieving oneness with Brahman.


Most religions in the world have the concept of heaven and hell as a reward and punishment for the good and bad deeds done during the life, while the concept of reincarnation is unique to Hinduism alone. According to the Law of Karma, yet another birth or Moksha are the products of the balance sheet of accumulated good and bad Karma from the life. The soul may find a place in hell or heaven after death of the mortal body but this will only be a temporary abode and the soul may have to return to mrityulok (earth) through reincarnation.

The soul is part of jiva - the physical being that is subject to the impurities of attachment, delusion and laws of karma. Consequently, the death is not an end but a natural process of continuance of the soul as a separate and distinct entity. In Bhagavad Gita, the verse 22 (Chapter 2) cited in the foregoing paragraphs illustrates this attribute of the soul: As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones; similarly, the soul acquires new physical bodies, giving up the old and useless one.

According to Nyaya philosophy of Hinduism, the new born or infant baby becomes joyful, sad or fearful often without cognizable stimuli because he remembers past life to experience these emotions; this occurs notwithstanding the processes of death and birth being so painful as to erase major portion of the past life’s memories. As the baby grows up, the impressions of the present life becomes so strong as to erase the residual memory of the past life. This is a normal process, as we grow even in the current life, the newer impressions are imprinted strongly upon mind that keep erasing past memories while only some remain as residual memories. Law of Karma makes reincarnation of soul an inevitable event. Shree Krishna explained this to Prince Arjuna as under:

Jatasya hi dhruvo mrtyur dhruvam janma mrtasya ca,
Tasmad apariharye'rthe na tvam socitum arhasi.

(For a being who has taken birth, death is certain and for one who has died, birth is certain. Therefore in an inevitable situation understanding should prevail.) (Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 2, Verse 27)

Later during His discourse, the concept of reincarnation is yet again explained by Lord Krishna to as follows:

Shariram yad avapnoti yach chapy utkramatishvarah,
Grihitvaitani sanyati vayur gandhan ivashayat.

(As the air carries fragrance from place to place, so does the embodied soul carry the mind and senses with it, when it leaves an old body and enters a new one.) (BG: Chapter 15, Verse 8)

In these verses, the nature, fate and cycle of the soul is clearly defined. The eternal, imperishable and timeless soul doesn’t terminate its journey with the worn out body; instead, it adopts a new body to continue its progression. It is like in the spring new buds grow which blossom into full grown leaves and flowers in the summer, start changing colours in the autumn due to maturity and aging, and worn out and fall in winter; the same cycle is onset and repeated on arrival of next spring. In the same way, a soul enters new body and passes through infancy, youth, mature and old age that terminates in death, starting the process again.

Shree Krishna also narrates way out from the aforesaid vicious cycle in the following verse:

Abrahmabhvanallokah punaravartino’rjuna,
Mamupetya tu kaunteya punarjanma na vidyate.

(In all the worlds of this material creation, up to the highest abode of Brahma, you will be subject to rebirth, O Arjun. But on attaining My Abode, O son of Kunti, there is no further rebirth.) (BG: Chapter 8, Verse 16)

The Vedic scriptures describe seven planes of existence lower than the earthly plane symbolizing narak or the hellish abodes as also seven planes above the earthly plane called swarg or celestial abodes. These different planes are also known as fourteen worlds in the universe; the highest among them is called Brahma Lok. However, all these worlds are considered to be within the realm of Maya and living beings in them are subject to the Karmic cycle and incarnation. What Shree Krishna says is that even the Brahma Lok is not free from bondage. Hence only those beings who attain Moksha through realization of Brahman (God) are actually released from the bondage of the material energy (physical life). This part of insight of life and universe conceptualized thousands of years ago is indeed very amazing even in the light of some secrets of universe unraveled by the modern science.

The Paths of the Sun and the Moon

According to the Bhagavad-Gita, the soul travels along two paths after the death of body. One is the path of the sun, also known as the bright path or the path of gods and the other is the path of the moon, also known as the dark path or the path of ancestors. When the soul travels along the path of the sun, it never returns again, while the path of moon is taken by the soul only to return to the world again. Following verses of the Bhagavad Gita amply explain the concept.

Yatra kale tvanavrittim avrittim chaiva yoginah
Prayata yanti tam kalam vakshyami bharatarshabha.

Agnir jyotir ahah shuklah shan-masa uttarayanam
Tatra prayata gachchhanti brahma brahma-vido janah.

Dhumo ratris tatha krishnah shan-masa dakshinayanam
Tatra chandramasam jyotir yogi prapya nivartate.

Shukla-krisne gati hyete jagatah shashvate mate
Ekaya yatyanavrittim anyayavartate punah.

(I shall now describe to you the different paths of passing away from this world, O best of the Bharatas, one of which leads to liberation and the other leads to rebirth. Those who know the Supreme Brahman, and who depart from this world, during the six months of the sun’s northern course, the bright fortnight of the moon, and the bright part of the day, attain the supreme destination. The practitioners of Vedic rituals, who pass away during the six months of the sun’s southern course, the dark fortnight of the moon, the time of smoke, the night, attain the celestial abodes. After enjoying celestial pleasures, they again return to the earth. These two, bright and dark paths, always exist in this world. The way of light leads to liberation and the way of darkness leads to rebirth.) (BG: Chapter 8, Verses 23-26)

Earlier while seeking answer about seven terms, Arjuna had also shown curiosity to know how the God could be realized at the time of death by the person with steadfast mind. The scholars have discerned sublime and incredible allegory for explaining spiritual theme centred round the bright and dark pathways. The light is symbolized to knowledge while the darkness to ignorance and six months of the northern and southern solstices symbolize them. The person who is consciously dedicated to God detached from material and sensual pursuits attains Him and is released from the wheel of Karmic cycle. On the other hand, the person who remains entangled with physical concept of life and illusory world continues in the vicious cycle of life, death and rebirth. Those who have done good deeds may temporarily have celestial abode only to return the earthly plane again.

Shree Krishna also explains how the deporting soul can establish the bright path to achieve the Supreme goal in the following verses:

Sarva-dvarani sanyamya mano hridi nirudhya cha,
Murdhnyadhayatmanah pranam asthito yoga-dharanam.

Om ityekaksharam brahma vyaharan mam anusmaran,
Yah prayati tyajan deham sa yati paramam gatim.

(Restraining all the gates of the body and fixing the mind in the heart region, and then drawing the life-breath to the head, one should get established in steadfast yogic concentration. One who departs from the body while remembering Me, the Supreme Personality, and chanting the syllable Om, will attain the supreme goal.) (BG: Chapter 8, Verses 12-13)

People are entangled with the world through the mind when it becomes slave of senses. They see, hear, touch, taste and smell the worldly objects; the mind dwells upon the objects through senses and tends to get attached with it. Therefore, restraining the senses becomes an essential prerequisite for getting detached with Samsara. This is why Shree Krishna asks to guard the gates of the body i.e. controlling the senses from their worldly attachments. In the aforesaid verses, the words yoga-dharanam implies to uniting the person’s consciousness with God through meditation with total attention. These mystic verses provide another wonderful allegory for addressing the spiritual concept around the themes of light and darkness.

Bhakti Yoga and Moksha (Liberation)

In the earlier part, the aspects of Karma Yoga and Jnan Yoga including their importance in pursuing the divine path of God-realization (liberation) was briefly explained. Bhakti Yoga is another important path for the God-realization through loving devotion towards the personal god. Apart from the Nirguna Brahman, this personal god could be any of His Saguna forms such as Lord Vishnu, Shiva, their consorts, Shakti (Durga) and so on. In Bhagavad Gita, in reply to a query from prince Arjuna about different yoga practitioners, Lord Krishna endorses and explains the value and worth of both Saguna and Nirguna Brahman.

Sri-bhagavan uvacha:
Mayy aveshya mano ye mam nitya-yukta upasate,
Shraddhaya parayopetas te me yuktatama matah.

(Sri Bhagwan said: Those who fix their minds on me and always engage in my devotion with steadfast mind, I consider them to be the best yogis.) (BG: Chapter 12, Verse 2)

Ye tv aksharam anirdeshyam avyaktam paryupasate,
Sarvatra-gam achintyancha kuta-stham achalandhruvam.

Sanniyamyendriya-gramam sarvatra sama-buddhayah,
Te prapnuvanti mam eva sarva-bhuta-hite ratah.

(But those who worship the formless aspect of the Absolute Truth - the imperishable, the indefinable, the unmanifest, the all-pervading, the unthinkable, the unchanging, the eternal, and the immoveable - by restraining their senses and being even-minded everywhere, such persons, engaged in the welfare of all beings, also attain me.) (BG: Chapter 12, Verses 3-4)

In the following verse 5, Shree Krishna Himself indicates that it is more strenuous for the devotees to focus in Bhakti sadhana of the Unmanifest God (Nirguna Brahman) because this attunement is difficult to attain by the people who are entangled with worldly possessions. For them, devotion towards the personal God (Saguna Brahman) in manifested forms such as Vishnu or Shiva is recommended.

Of the two distinct paths explained above that the soul could travel after the death of the physical body, the bright path is also stated as the path of divine because the soul finding it attains Moksha. There are different ways of attaining Moksha such as Karma-yoga and Jnana-yoga but Shree Krishna says that the Bhaki-yoga as the simplest and convenient way of attaining Moksha. The virtue and value of Bhakti could be understood from the following verse.

Antakale ca mameva smaranmuktva kalevaram,
Yah prayati sa madbhavam yati nastyatra samsayah.

(He who departs from the body, thinking of Me (God) alone at the time of death, attains My state; there is no doubt about it.) (BG: Chapter 8, Verse 5)

Dhyana Yoga (Meditation) and Manas (Mind)

Dhyana and related contextual concepts are found in many chapters of the Bhagavad Gita including chapters 2, 12, 13 and 18 while the Chapter 6, “The Yoga of Self-Control” predominantly deals with the Dhyana-yoga. The Bhagavad Gita outlines four paths for the self-purification and attainment of spirituality. These are the path of unselfish action (Karma-yoga), the path of knowledge (Jnana-yoga), the path of devotion (Bhakti-yoga) and the path of meditation (Dhyana-yoga). The chapter 6 describes Dhyana-yoga at length inter alia including the importance of self-upliftment, features of meditation and steps in mind-control as also the nemesis of defaulters.

Uddhared atmanatmanam natmanam avasadayet,
Atmaiva hyatmano bandhur atmaiva ripur atmanah.

(One should lift oneself through the power of mind (meditation), and not degrade oneself; for the mind can be the friend and also the enemy of the self.) (BG: Chapter 6, Verse 5)

Prince Arjuna expressed apprehension in achieving self-control and equanimity of mind because of its nature of being unsteady, turbulent, tenacious and powerful. He said that trying to control the mind was like trying to control the wind. In a reassuring tone, Shree Krishna guided him as under:

Sri Bhagavan uvacha:
Asanshayam maha-baho mano durnigraham chalam,
Abhyasena tu kaunteya vairagyena cha grihyate.

(Sri Bhagwan said: The mind is restless no doubt, and difficult to curb; but it can be brought under control by repeated practice (of meditation) and by detachment, O son of Kunti.) (BG: Chapter 6, Verse 35)

The following two verses outline how the practice of meditation can be achieved:

Tatraikagram manah kritva yata-chittendriya-kriyah,
Upavishyasane yunjyad yogam atma-vishuddhaye.

Samam kaya-shiro-grivam dharayann achalam sthirah,
Samprekshya nasikagram svam dishash chanavalokayan.

(Seated firmly on it, one should strive to purify the mind by meditation, controlling the functions of the mind and senses. He must hold the body, neck and head firmly in a straight line, and gaze at the tip of the nose, without allowing the eyes to wander.) (Bhagavad Gita Chapter 6, Verse 12-13)

The practitioner committed to self-control must observe chastity and fearlessness from all vices. Keeping his mind calm and restraint, he should endeavour to concentrate his mind on God and be completely absorbed in Him in the aforesaid posture. A true yogi can easily do this while a committed and vigilant practitioner can also achieve this with repeated practice. Shree Krishna narrates this state of yogi in the following manner.

Yatha dipo nivata-stho nengate sopama smrita,
Yogino yata-chittasya yunjato yogam atmanah.

(As a flame does not flicker in a windless place, such is the disciplined mind of a yogi steady in meditation on the self.) (Bhagavad Gita Chapter 6, Verse 19)

The Yoga of meditation is also referred to as Raja Yoga or Ashtanga Yoga. After explaining various aspects of the Dhyana-yoga, Lord Krishna summarized by saying that a practitioner can attain perfection in the life through meditation, which offers another path of self-realization.

Prayatnad yatamanas tu yogi sanshuddha-kilbishah,
Aneka-janma-sansiddhas tato yati param gatim.

(The Yogi who diligently takes up the practice (meditation) attains perfection in this very life, with the accumulated merits of previous births; he becomes purified from material desires and reaches the supreme state.) (Bhagavad Gita Chapter 6, Verse 45)

In Bhagavad Gita, in essence Dhyana (meditation) is a yogic practice of a person’s spiritual journey. To indulge in meditation, apart from certain 8-limbed yogic practices like asana, pranayama, pratyahara and gharana, the practitioner requires inculcating certain moral virtues like Satya (truthfulness), Ahimsa (non-violence) and Aparigraha (non-covetousness). It’s so because Dhyana attracts a focused attention of both the body and mind. The concept is that when the practitioner focuses his (or her) mind on divine or pious thoughts they become reflective in own body, breath, senses and mind. Through sustained meditation, the practitioner comes closer to the universal reality of Self and Brahman.


Like Hinduism is not merely a religion but a comprehensive way of life including aspects of religion, culture and all other civilizational attributes; so is Srimad Bhagavad Gita with credible wisdom on virtually all aspects of spirituality, philosophies of life and mundane activities. Some of the more important aspects have been briefly dealt with in the previous and current part. It can be conclusively held that this treaty is indeed a compendium and epitome of all Hindu scriptures, and essence of four Vedas and principal Upanishads, simultaneously unraveling the Supreme spiritual truth and essential philosophies of the human life. That the treaty is a symbol of truth, purity and righteousness is also vindicated in the modern age from the fact that every Hindu witness in the Indian courts is expected to give testimony on oath to Srimad Bhagavad Gita.

Some Western scholars and even Indians under their influence tend to make comparison of Gita with the holy books like Bible or Quran of the Abrahamic religions. They forget the fact that unlike other religions, Hindu scriptures including Gita neither create any fear of God among the mind of adherents nor intimidate them with punishment if they do not subscribe to a particular ideology, belief or faith. Besides, such an analogy is grossly inaccurate and unfair because such holy books are exclusive, and even coercive or restrictive, in dealing with human beings of different faiths and beliefs across the world, while the Gita, like Vedas, is inclusive and with all-encompassing wisdom, knowledge, virtues, glory, truth, mystery and devotion for the entire mankind without any discretion, distinction or discrimination.

Continued to Part XLII


More by :  Dr. Jaipal Singh

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