The 12 Life Lessons from Gita
Hindu mythology is a mighty ocean. We do not follow just one god and one sacred book. We have many. We worship the Gods, demi gods, the nagas, the animals, the five forces of nature like the fire, water, wind, earth, and the sky, at times even the humans! Similarly we have so many sacred books which includes the Ramayana, Mahabarata, Srimad Bagavata, Bhagavat Gita, and many more. Among these the Bhagavat Gita preaches the sanathana dharma. Like how we need a manual for operating an appliance or a gadget, similarly Bagavat Gita is a manual for the humans that guides them to how to lead their life on this earth irrespective of their religion, caste, or origin. Bagavat Gita is an episode from the epic Mahabharatha. It appears as a conversation between the Pandava prince Arjuna and his charioteer friend Krishna. The teachings of Lord Krishna to the Pandava prince Arjuna is compiled in the form a book called the Bagavat Gita. The conversation takes place just before the onset of the great Bharat war in the battle field of Kurukshetra when the Pandava prince Arjuna was hesitant and became emotional at the act of killing his own kith and kin. The Lord advises him to perform the duties of a Kshatriya and a prince of the land. He also elaborates on the yogic, vedanta philosophies and the doctrines of sanathana dharma.
You are what you believe in. You become that which you believe you can become”
- Bagavat Gita
Life Lessons from Gita
- Work hard without worrying about the result: One has to work hard without worrying about its result. The nature has been designed in such a way that everyone has to taste the fruit of their actions whether it is god or bad. Doing services without worrying about the result is the service done to the Creator. This is also called as the Nishkamya karma. The one who has attained this knowledge and destroyed the worldly confusion and detached from the fruit of the action is called a Karma yogi. Therefore Lord Krishna emphasizes on doing one's work by leaving the result to the supreme godhead.
- Soul is immortal: The materialistic things that we enjoy in this world are purely transient in nature. The body is like a dress that we wear. It can be easily changed whereas the soul is our own self. After our death the only thing that gets destroyed is our body and not the soul. The body becomes one with the five forces of nature.The soul still remains active. It has the imprints of our sins and virtues. It takes the shelter of an other body on the basis of our past karma and continues to work.
- Never shy away from responsibility: When the Pandava prince Arjuna became emotional on the thought of killing his kith and kin for their due share of the kingdom, the Lord sympathized on him and explained the duty of a true Kshatriya and a prince. The duty of a prince and a Kshatriya is to protect the innocent from the danger and the land from the invaders. One has to face life no matter how worse the situations are and accomplish what has to be accomplished.
- Life is a combination of both happiness and sorrows: One has to accept the dualities of life equally. Happiness and sorrow comes on a rotation basis. One should not act with arrogance during their good times and at the same time not to float way in sorrows during one's bad time.
- Death is inevitable: Everyone who are born in this world had to die one day is the law of nature. One can postpone death but cannot eradicate it. Everything has got its own span of time in this world(even the non living things) when the time comes everyone has to leave this world.
- Change is the only thing permanent: As time passes people change, the situations change, the circumstances changes and even the surroundings change. One cannot expect someone or something to be there for them throughout their life. What is yours today, might be someone else's someday. Nobody has control over these things, irrespective of whether it is materialistic things or relationships, one has to abide and travel with the nature. Lord Krishna says that there is no point in brooding over the past, one has to live in the present and make the most of it.
- Surrender your actions to the Supreme godhead: One has to perform his duties in the name of the supreme godhead (i.e) Lord Krishna. At times we feel that people who commit sins are more happier in life and those people who do good things suffer a lot, but it is not the truth. God comes to rescue good people when they are in distress. So one has to involve in actions in the name of God so that it turns out to be a positive one.
- Controlling one's desires: Lord Krishna states that emotions and feelings are the two stumbling blocks on the path of Self realization. From passion desire is born. When this desire is not fulfilled it turns into anger. This anger is the root cause for self destruction. All actions of a person which is free from desire, attachment, anger and with accordance with the law of nature do not attract any sin.Therefore one has to achieve spiritual knowledge to control desire.
- Renunciation through yoga: Lord Krishna says that people adopt different methods to reach him. In whichever way people worship Him,he accepts it. Some observe bakthi yoga and worship gods, some gnana yoga, reading scriptures to enhance their knowledge and the last is the karma yoga, performing the duties without expecting anything in return. If one achieves this knowledge with faith in God and control in his senses,he attains liberation. To free oneself from the external affairs one has to get into the mode of meditation.
- Lord Krishna is the ultimate: Lord Krishna is the supreme godhead, he is the ultimate in whatever form men worship, their wishes get fulfilled, but they are all bestowed by Him alone. But these material gains are transient in nature and true devotees surrender him to attain Nirvana. Only four kinds of men seek him, the distressed, the wealth seeker, the enlightened one, and the inquisitive one. Whatever object one remembers at the time of leaving this world, achieves it. If one remembers Lord Krishna, he becomes one with Him.
- The three gunas (character): In Chapter 14 Lord Krishna elaborates on the three gunas that all living beings come in contact from the day they are born in this world. It is the Sattva, Rajas and Thamas gunas. The Sattva is characterized by goodness. People who follow the Sattva way of living are attached to knowledge and happiness and restrain from all sinful actions. The Rajas guna is characterized by passion, anger, and sensual gratification. Lust, anger, envy, greed are a form of Rajas guna. Madness, carelessness, laziness, consuming stale food, excessive sleep, living in an untidy environment, wearing old clothes (etc) are the Thamas way of living. The faith that one follows are also dependent on these three gunas. The Sattva people worship the Gods, the Rajas, the demi gods and the Thamas people worship the ghosts and spirits. The sattva people prefer foods that promote health, the one that is nutritious and subtle. If one dies following the sattva way of living, he reaches the heavens and becomes one with the Supreme.
- The difference between renunciation, sacrifice and sanyas (sainthood):In the concluding chapter, Lord Krishna describes the difference between renunciation, sanyas and sacrifice. Sacrifice is freedom from selfish attachment and fruits of work. Where as Sanyas is giving up activities prompted by desires. Renunciation comprises of sacrifice, charity and penance. These are not to be given up. All these activities should be performed without attachment or any expectation of result. They should be performed as a matter of duty.
For the one who has controlled the mind, it is the best of friends, the one who failed to do so shall suffer
Bagavat Gita preaches the sanathana dharma. The uniqueness of this sacred book is that these doctrines and principles are life lessons which is applicable even in today's world. Eventhough it is a difficult task to put these principles into practice, if one achieves that perfection, he will be free from anxiety, fear, distress and can lead a reasonably happy life in this world.