Hari Om Dear Friends !
On May 15th, we successfully completed the intellectual study of Srimad Bhagavad Gita. I dare not say, "We have gone through the Gita". Immediately Pujya Gurudev's counter-question comes to mind "Has the Gita gone through you ?" :-)
We talked about a few summary pointers from this supreme scripture. You can access the summary flow here.
The following are the sections we discussed:
A Chapter in a Sentence
Courtesy a WhatsApp forward, the following is an attempt to summarize each chapter in a sentence. This is merely an attempt to provide a simplistic summary of the 18 Chapters in one line. As you already know, this cannot be the start of our understanding of every chapter. This would make more sense to someone who has read through and studied the import of every chapter of the Gita.
Things to Remember
We also discussed some of the key points to remember. These should be facts and details which never leave our memory.
"Gita is a Moksha/Jnana Shaastra": There are various concepts, philosophies & thoughts discussed in this great text. Some examples are Karma, Bhakti, Dhyaana, Upasana, Tapa, Vairagyam, Viveka, etc. But the ultimate crux of the Gita is Jnanam or Knowledge - The knowledge of our true self. This is the same knowledge that is expounded in the Upanishads. The ultimate goal of the Gita is to grant us Moksha, through this knowledge. Hence, the Gita is also known as a Moksha Shaastra or a Jnana Shaastra. It is NOT a Karma Shaastra or Bhakti Shaastra.
"Means and End": In the early part of our life, we pray to Bhagwaan/Lord/God to give/grant/bless us with material riches and possessions, like a car, house, promotion, bonus, new job, etc. The compassionate Lord becomes the means to our ends (material possessions). But with maturity, we should swap them. We should use our material possessions as the means to reach the end, which will be Bhagwaan. Else, we may grow old, but never will we grow up. As someone said, the only difference between a child and an adult is the price of their toys.
"Progression is Key": Bhagwaan is compassionate - just like a loving parent or a dedicated coach. Failure is not a concern - Lack of effort is a concern. Let us make sure that we are constantly making progress or at least wanting to make progress.
"Compassionate towards ABC": A sure-fire indicator and a litmus test when we come in contact with the Gita is that we will be compassionate towards Articles, Beings and Circumstances. Never will we lash out, berate or hate any thing or anyone.
"Rules for Self; Love for Others": Another beautiful trait we should wear on ourselves constantly is to apply all rules to ourselves, be strict with ourselves. When it comes to others, let's give them the benefit of doubt. Often times, we follow the reverse. "She doesn't visit the temple that often. Very bad.". "Oh, I am very busy with my work, hence I haven't visited the temple in 6 months."
"Vishwaroopam is EVERYWHERE": The primary message of Advaita Vedanta is that divinity exists everywhere. Everything, everyone, every situation is divine and is a form of Bhagwaan. Just as a fish cannot deny the existence of water, wherever it goes; we cannot deny the existence of the unexplainable divinity of Bhagwaan wherever we go.
"Vedantic Values = Universal/Basic Values": Be it an employee manual, or a company vision/mission/values statement, or an HR training session - The values that are discussed, explained and dictated would be nothing but Vedantic values, example: Integrity, Compassion, Cooperation, Selflessness, Truthfulness, Hardwork, Sincerity, etc, etc.
"Follow Karma Yoga, whenever we fall": The glorious practice of Karma Yoga is the steppingstone in our spiritual journey towards the peak of Jnanam/True knowledge. With a little tweak in our mindset, we will find ourselves walking on this divine path of Karma Yoga. Hence, whenever we falter, flail or fall, the practice of Karma Yoga should be the anchor we hold on to, for climbing back up.
Things To Do
As we take a break from our regular Sunday classes, let's make sure that we don't drift away from this powerful teaching. Here are some important, yet simple steps for us to follow through the summer (& at other times as well):
"Have (Basic) Faith": Continue to have basic faith that there will be an answer. The scriptures don't ask for too much faith or blind faith. If we don't have basic faith, only we stand to lose. Thousands of people have benefited from the scriptural knowledge, by having basic faith.
"Drop Selfish Desires": We act, think or say things, usually for fulfilling some selfish desires of ours. Try to identify those and eliminate them.
"Drop 'All' Desires": If you feel good about step #2, try to move towards eliminating ALL desires, which includes Sattvik desires as well. Treat our equipment (Body, Mind, Intellect) as tools to perform certain things, to the best of their abilities. Difficult, but worth trying.
"Always look for progression": Continue to improve and look for improvement from our current state. Remember - This is a journey and not a Right-or-Wrong judgment.
"Rate yourself from time to time": In this journey, from time to time, try to gauge where you are. Are we still getting angry frequently ? Has the intensity of my negative traits (anger, anxiety, stress) decreased ? Do I recover soon ? Am I offering myself to my family and loved ones with complete surrender ? How are my negative traits affecting people around me ?
"Smile": The easiest gift to give someone, is a smile. It is the cheapest and yet the most precious thing to offer. Psychologists and mental wellness professionals say that the act of smiling automatically drives away many negative emotions. A smile is indeed the most simplest thing to do. Try it.
"Preyas versus Shreyas": It is constantly a battle between the two - Preyas and Shreyas, or the path of the Pleasant versus the path of Peace. Think objectively and the inner divine entity will always guide us on the path of Shreyas.
"Dig in Deep. Stop being critical": We dare not pass any callous judgment on the medical science field, the economy or astronomy, especially if we are not in those professions. Similarly, let's not pass any careless comments on this divine science - the Science of I. Resist the temptation, dive in deep, ask a scholar. Remember - This is the Science where we have great scientists such as Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Aurobindo, Swami Vivekananda, Bhagwaan Adi Sankara, Sarada Devi, Swami Tapovanam, Pujya Gurudev, Sri Thyagaraja, Sri Tulsidas, Sant Kabir, just to name a few.
Our sessions are done, but the Nidhidhyasanam (churning of the knowledge) should continue forever. We all are blessed to have studied this supreme text, together, all these months and years.
On behalf of the facilitators, I thank each and every one of you for your partnership, participation & patience. We will meet soon with our next Vedantic text.
We offer our salutations, gratitude and pranaams to Bhagwaan Krishna, Bhagwaan Shri Veda Vyaasa, Bhagwaan Acharya Sankara, Param Pujya Gurudev and the entire Guru-Shishya Parampara for supporting, nourishing and guiding us.
Sarve Bhavantu SukhinaH
Sarve Santu NiramayaH
Sarve Bhadrani Pashyantu
Ma Kaschid Dukhkabhag Bhaved
Om Shanti | Shanti | ShantiH
May All be Happy
May All be Healthy
May All see Auspiciousness always
May No one suffer
Peace | Peace | Peace |
Gita Reference Material:
Here is the link to some Gita reference material that you can access.
Hari Om !!
Praveen, Visveish, Ganesh
(email@example.com | 412-916-8780)