Of all of the Hindu scriptures, one is ubiquitous in sermons and books. The Bhagavad Gita is the most famous Hindu text because it covers almost every aspect of life and contains the solution to nearly every problem. Of course, to understand this miraculous panacea, one must delve deep into its pages and interpret it.
You see, the magic of the Bhagavad Gita lies not just in the text, but in the personal interpretation of the teachings. Understanding the practical usage of the Bhagavad Gita in your life is the key.
The Bhagavad Gita begins with the king Dhritarashtra’s charioteer Sanjaya being asked what was happening on the battlefield. Sanjaya replies by providing details of the armies and their warriors. Now the real teaching that lies in this section is embedded in the Sanskrit text, which goes: dharmakshetre kurukshetre. Kurukshetra is the location of the battlefield, but the first word is one of importance.
Dharmakshetre means “land of dharma” or “the land where dharma is.” It’s odd that the king would use these words to describe war. In war, thousands of people are killed for the sake of a few major leaders. Why would that be considered dharma?
The answer is simple. Dharma is a personal viewpoint and not a fixed list of rules. Everyone has their dharma, their job. For example, if a tiger turned vegetarian, that wouldn’t be following its natural dharma. It sounds odd, but dharma doesn’t mean not killing. It simply means to follow your nature. If you can eat both vegetables and meat, then it’s your choice to eat either one.
In this situation, two sets of cousins (perhaps representing the closeness of good and evil) are fighting not only for the kingdom, but also for what they believe is right. Note that both sides (including “evil”) believe that they are right. They may be!
This could be a case of “winner writes the rules” or a distorted perspective given by a biased author. Probably not. Either way, whatever is said in the Bhagavad Gita is a useful life lesson – you can apply these teachings to your everyday life in many ways. Let’s have a look at some of them.
As the Buddha said, “Hatred will be hatred for all time.” Whether the war is being fought on the battlefield with a tank or a sword, or in a political building with words, hatred has never changed. Stop watching those YouTube videos that make fun of other things when they could probably do no better! Everything is unique and beautiful in its own way.
Another truth learned in the Bhagavad Gita is forgiveness and moving on. There was a myth recently that said it took 72 muscles to frown and 14 to smile. Why would you ever frown and shout?
While the accuracy of this statement is questionable, the fact remains that it is infinitely better to smile than frown. And usually, when you smile, you are happy and collected. When you frown, you’re upset, not satisfied, or angry at something or someone. You don’t need to do that. Express your displeasure using words, not facial expressions or tonal variation. Nobody listens to you when you’re screaming, but when you’re using clear words to show your annoyance, it can be very effective.
The Buddha was the epitome of compassion and knew the negative effects of hatred. It poisons your mind and makes you believe the few negative thoughts you are having. And here’s the worst part – once you start hating you can’t stop – ever. It’s almost like a plague, except it’s impossible to end. Hateful thoughts don’t go away. It’s easy to hate, not so much to come out.
Another pearl of wisdom dropped in the Bhagavad Gita is the importance of a peaceful family. A family with caring, calm, and happy members make the home inviting and wonderful for not only others but also themselves. A “happy family” can be radiating signs of joy and peace to others, and give them warm welcomes and happy smiles while being turmoiled within. A truly happy family is happy not just in front of others, but also alone. They don’t feel a sense of depression or anger. Many homes across are welcoming to others, but few are truly a happy family.
The Bhagavad Gita also outlines the importance of ridding your mind of any selfish desire. In the Gita, Arjuna has to fight against his family and friends, a prospect that sounds easy to do on paper but is hard to finish. Just imagine fighting against your best friends and grandfather. It sounds practically impossible to do as selfishness will override your brain and say: Who cares about the society? You’re fighting against your family and friends for people you’ve never known or met! You’re risking your life and others for no freaking reason!
Conquering this urge is essential, but again, it is a case of “easier said than done.” In future chapters of the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna will tell us just how to do this.