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The Principles of Bhagavad Gita
The Bhagavad-Gita is not separate from the Vaisnava philosophy and the Srimad Bhagavatam fully reveals the true import of this doctrine which is transmigation of the soul. On perusal of the first chapter of Bhagavad-Gita one may think that they are advised to engage in warfare. When the second chapter has been read it can be clearly understood that knowledge and the soul is the ultimate goal to be attained. On studying the third chapter it is apparent that acts of righteousness are also of high priority. If we continue and patiently take the time to complete the Bhagavad-Gita and try to ascertain the truth of its closing chapter we can see that the ultimate conclusion is to relinquish all the conceptualized ideas of religion which we possess and fully surrender directly unto the Supreme Lord.
The main principle of the Bhagavad Gita is Karma Yoga. This is because it converts every activity into a meditation on the Absolute. The Bhagavad Gita teaches that worldly activities is itself a spiritual activity. God is not transcendent to the world; He is the world. The Bhagavad Gita has 18 chapters and they are grouped into 6 parts. The first part solves the problem of the conflict of the division within the individual. The second deals with the coordination of the individual with the universe, and the third the unity of the universe with the Absolute. The solutions of the conflict of the individual, the universal and the absolute are given.
The Gita is inclusive of social work, humanitarian service, individual peace as well as God-realization. The difficulty in practice arises because of old habits and this can be cured by meditating everyday without break.
It is said that Satya (Truth) and Ahimsa (Non-violence) are the pre-requisites for meditation. Whatever you do in this worlds should equal to an adoration of God.
The Principles Explained
1) Help One Another
It is said that selfishness saps our natural health and immune system. As such, when we take steps to move ourselves away from self and think about the needs of others and how to serve them, a physical healing process is set in motion. It is said that peace, composure and freedom from karmic bondage await those who work for a noble cause with the spirit of detachment and do not seek any personal reward or recognition. It is this selfless service that purifies the mind and is an easy spiritual discipline that one can practice while living and working in society.
2) Practice moderation and meditate daily
The Bhagavad Gita teaches that extremes should be avoided at all costs in all spheres of life. Lord Buddha emphasized the middle path as the right and noble way. This is moderation in the Bhagavad Gita. It is said that a healthy mind and body are required for successful performance of any spiritual performance.
3) Metaphysical knowledge is the ultimate knowledge
In Chapter 4, verses 37 and 38, it states that “if the intellect is not powerful enough to control the mind, the passenger will not reach the goal. Self knowledge is superior to the intellect. The intellect yoked with the Self through Self knowledge and contemplation becomes pure and strong to control the mind and the mind will control the sense. Thus, it can be seen that self knowledge is essential for the success of the spiritual journey. Self knowledge provides the power of purification."
This means that if are unable to control our mind, we will not reach the goal. The goal here refers to self-realization of the soul. The verse further states that knowledge of the Self is essential for spiritual journey to be successful as it provides the power of purification.
4) Find your own method of worship to God
It is not necessary to understand God to obtain His grace, to love him and to attain him. Any spiritual practice done without faith is an exercise in futility. As such, faith is an important aspect of reaching self realization. Faith goes hand in hand with believe. We may have various methods of worshipping God. As the saying goes, "all road leads to Rome" can be applied in this principle.
5) Learn to forgive others
One should learn to forgive others as one who unconditionally forgives others is happy because the anger of the forgiver is exterminated. Progress in spiritual discipline would be slowed if one’s interpersonal relationship is full of hurt and negative feelings, even for a single entity. Therefore, one must learn to forgive and to ask forgiveness.
6) Recognize the presence of God in all living beings
This principle means that the Supreme Lord is seated in the inner psyche as consciousness of all beings. He is the spirit within us, our divine guru. The Divine Being which is within us is the one and only guru and it is essential that we learn how to tune in with Him.
7) Lust is the origin of all sin
Basically, one should be able to manage our wants with a proper frame of mind. Lust, is the passionate selfish desires for all material and sensual pleasures. If lust is left unfulfilled, it becomes anger. When this anger is unfulfilled, the intense desire turns into a fierce rage. Thus, that is why Lord Krishna says that lust and anger are two enemies of man.
8) Mind is the best friend as well as the worst enemy
Guru Nanak, a spiritual master for the Sikhs has said that once one “masters the mind, and you master the world.”
9) Attachments and aversions are major stumbling blocks
It has to be noted that ‘attachment’ may be defined as a strong desire to experience pleasures again and again. ‘Aversion’ is the strong dislike for the unpleasant. It is believed that we can have desires with a proper frame of mind that gives us control over attachments and aversions. If we can manage our wants, most of the things we possess become dispensable rather than essential. Thus, one must strive to achieve sense control as peace and happiness are achieved through sense control and not sense gratification.