Today is Gita Jayanti and Mokshada Ekadashi.
Let me cover the core messages of eighteen chapter Srimad Bhagavad Gita in 8 part in useful way.
Note that you may find the answer long or lengthy as core messages needs well understanding and explanation!, I've tried to maintain gradual level for understanding.
Sanskrit Verses are quoted from Sanskrit Documents and English translation from Gita Press
Life can be enriched by
- Eliminating Tamas Guna, minimizing Rajas Guna and insisting on Satva Guna.
- Following Dharma and performing duties
So, talking about today's life, generally ordinary people don't focus on ethics, morality, spirituality and their deeds.
First of all I recommend to read Adhyaya 16 which is called "Dev Ashura sampadvibhaga Yoga".
In which Krishna comprehensively explained divine and demoniac natures. (Verse 1-3 for divine nature and further of for demoniac nature).
द्वौ भूतसर्गौ लोकेऽस्मिन्दैव आसुर एव च ।
दैवो विस्तरशः प्रोक्त आसुरं पार्थ मे शृणु ॥ १६-६॥
There are only two types of men in this world, Arjuna, the one possessing a divine nature and the other possessing a demoniac disposition. Of these, the type possessing divine nature has been dealt with at length; now hear in detail from Me about the type possessing demoniac disposition.
So, we should first understand the difference between divine and demoniac nature and try to eliminate/minimize our demoniac nature and insist on divine nature.
Now, three Gunas of Praktiti is comprehensively explained in Adhyaya-14 called "Guna traya vibhaga Yoga".
सत्त्वं रजस्तम इति गुणाः प्रकृतिसम्भवाः ।
निबध्नन्ति महाबाहो देहे देहिनमव्ययम् ॥ १४-५॥
Sattva, Rajas and Tamas these three Gunas born of Nature tie down the imperishable soul to the body, Arjuna.
Reading further verses helps in understanding the characteristics of these three Gunas. So, we can get what to avoid and what to do.
These will ultimately leads one to Satvic Guna and creates characteristics like Dharmikta, Satvikta, ethics, morality etc. which helps in development of mind and increasing spiritual-level!
Talking about performing duties, which is explained according to Varna in Adhyaya-18:
ब्राह्मणक्षत्रियविशां शूद्राणां च परन्तप ।
कर्माणि प्रविभक्तानि स्वभावप्रभवैर्गुणैः ॥ १८-४१॥
The duties of the Brahmans, the Kshatriyas and the Vaishyas, as well as of the Shudras have been assigned according to their innate modes of Prakrti (Gunas), Arjuna.
Reading further verses narrates duties to be performed according to Varna.
PART-2 [Basic Jnana]
Now, this is time to go on primary subject of Srimad Bhagavad Gita: Samkhya and Karma Yoga.
People have usually following types of question in mind:
- What the universe is and where it comes from, how all these is working and which law governs it.
- Why bondage and How to get rid of Samsara.
- Which path/marga to follow and how to follow.
- What is the ultimate/absolute truth/reality.
- What is the ultimate purpose of life. etc...
These types of questions should be solved to avoid confusions and knowing the Goal!
Some primary Jnana is essential for the development of mind favourable to Jnana or Bhakti Yoga. This primary Jnana can be understand with the help of Samkhya teachings of Prakriti and Purush.
Adhyaya 7 which is called "Jnana-Vijnana Yoga" in which Krishna declares:
ज्ञानं तेऽहं सविज्ञानमिदं वक्ष्याम्यशेषतः ।
यज्ज्ञात्वा नेह भूयोऽन्यज्ज्ञातव्यमवशिष्यते ॥ ७-२॥
I shall unfold to you in its entirety this wisdom (Knowledge of God in His absolute formless aspect) along with the Knowledge of the qualified aspect of God (both with form and without form), having known which nothing else remains yet to be known in this world.
Continue reading verses further hopefully helps in true knowledge. Also read Verse 9.4 to 9.10.
So, it clears that God is the cause of whole the creation! Now, it is the time to know the relation between God and us! which I think very very necessary for the goal as we know some people don't have true knowledge of God and wander to and fro for attaining him because they actually don't know who is God and where to find!?
PART-3 [Relation between Prakriti, Jiva and God]
Adhyaya-13 which is called "Kshetra-Khshetrajna Vibhaga Yoga" explains the relation between Prakriti, Jiva and Brahman.
ज्योतिषामपि तज्ज्योतिस्तमसः परमुच्यते ।
ज्ञानं ज्ञेयं ज्ञानगम्यं हृदि सर्वस्य विष्ठितम् ॥ १३-१८॥
That supreme Brahma is said to be the light of all lights and entirely beyond Maya. That godhead is knowledge itself, worth knowing, and worth attaining through real wisdom, and is particularly abiding in the hearts of all.
उपद्रष्टानुमन्ता च भर्ता भोक्ता महेश्वरः ।
परमात्मेति चाप्युक्तो देहेऽस्मिन्पुरुषः परः ॥ १३-२३॥
The Spirit dwelling in this body, is really the same as the Supreme. He has been spoken of as the Witness, the true Guide, the Sustainer of all, the Experiencer (as the embodied soul), the Overlord and the Absolute as well.
Also read the verse 15.7:
ममैवांशो जीवलोके जीवभूतः सनातनः ।
मनःषष्ठानीन्द्रियाणि प्रकृतिस्थानि कर्षति ॥ १५-७॥
The eternal Jivatma in this body is a fragment of My own Self; and it is that alone which draws around itself the mind and the five senses, which abide in Prakrti.
So, the solution of all theses things, God himself! dwells in our heart! Do we need anything-else!?
Thus, knowing these leads one to know about Atman of which the true nature is narrated in Verse 2.17 to 2.25:
अविनाशि तु तद्विद्धि येन सर्वमिदं ततम् ।
विनाशमव्ययस्यास्य न कश्चित्कर्तुमर्हति ॥ २-१७॥
Know that alone to be imperishable which pervades this universe; for no one has power to destroy this indestructible substance.
I think the this true concept of Atman and Brahman is major essence of Santana Dharma.
PART-4 [Karma Yoga]
Now it is time to know that in order to attain the ultimate/absolute truth/reality or Moksha, one should follow certain paths.
This leads people to know and follow Karma Yoga which is explained verily in Bhagavad Gita! which starts from popular verse of Bhagavad Gita:
कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन ।
मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोऽस्त्वकर्मणि ॥ २-४७॥
Your right is to work only and never to the fruit thereof. Do not Consider yourself to be the cause of the fruit of action; nor let your attachment be to inaction.
यत्करोषि यदश्नासि यज्जुहोषि ददासि यत् ।
यत्तपस्यसि कौन्तेय तत्कुरुष्व मदर्पणम् ॥ ९-२७ ॥
Arjuna, whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer as oblation to the sacred fire, whatever you bestow as a gift, whatever you do by way of penance, offer all that to Me.
योगस्थः कुरु कर्माणि सङ्गं त्यक्त्वा धनञ्जय ।
सिद्ध्यसिद्ध्योः समो भूत्वा समत्वं योग उच्यते ॥ २-४८॥
Arjuna, perform your duties established in Yoga, renouncing attachment, and be even-minded in success and failure; evenness of mind is called Yogi.
This leads Yogi to the state of Sthitprajna which is explained from Verse 2.55 to the end of Adhyaya-2.
The important thing in journey of KarmaYoga is to understand :
प्रकृतेः क्रियमाणानि गुणैः कर्माणि सर्वशः ।
अहङ्कारविमूढात्मा कर्ताहमिति मन्यते ॥ ३-२७॥
In fact all actions are being performed by the modes of Prakrti (Primordial Nature). The fool, whose mind is deluded by egoism, thinks: "I am the doer".
Reading further verses of Adhyaya-3 helps in the relation between Prakriti, Karma and Atman.
So, mind and intellect are key to Yoga! The necessity of controlling senses is explained from Verse 3.40:
इन्द्रियाणि पराण्याहुरिन्द्रियेभ्यः परं मनः ।
मनसस्तु परा बुद्धिर्यो बुद्धेः परतस्तु सः ॥ ३-४२॥
The senses are said to be greater than the body; but greater than the senses is the mind. Greater than the mind is the intellect; and what is greater than the intellect is He, the Self.
उद्धरेदात्मनात्मानं नात्मानमवसादयेत् ।
आत्मैव ह्यात्मनो बन्धुरात्मैव रिपुरात्मनः ॥ ६-५॥
One should lift oneself by one's own efforts and should not degrade oneself; for one's own self is one's friend, and one's own self is one's enemy.
बन्धुरात्मात्मनस्तस्य येनात्मैवात्मना जितः ।
अनात्मनस्तु शत्रुत्वे वर्तेतात्मैव शत्रुवत् ॥ ६-६॥
One's own Self is the friend of the soul by whom the lower self (consisting of the mind, senses and body) has been conquered; even so, the very Self of him, who has not conquered his lower self, behaves antagonistically like an enemy.
For Karma Yoga, it is important to have a clear understanding of following:
- What is Karma, What is Akarma?
- What is Nishkama Karma and how to perform it.
- Which Karmas should be performed which is not and why?
This is explained from Verse 4.16:
किं कर्म किमकर्मेति कवयोऽप्यत्र मोहिताः ।
तत्ते कर्म प्रवक्ष्यामि यज्ज्ञात्वा मोक्ष्यसेऽशुभात् ॥ ४-१६॥
What is action and what is inaction? Even men of intelligence are puzzled over this question. Therefore, I shall expound to you the truth about action, knowing which you will be freed from its evil effects i.e., the shackles of karma.
Reading further verses gives the true knowledge about Karma, Akarma and how to understand it.
The Karma Sanyasa and Karma Tyaga is exclusively explained in Adhyaya-18 Verse 1 to 11:
एतान्यपि तु कर्माणि सङ्गं त्यक्त्वा फलानि च ।
कर्तव्यानीति मे पार्थ निश्चितं मतमुत्तमम् ॥ १८-६॥
Hence these acts of sacrifice, charity and penance, and all other acts of duty too, must be performed without attachment and expectation of reward : this is My well-considered and supreme verdict, Arjuna.
PART-6 [Jnana Yoga]
The importance of Jnana Yoga is narrated from Verse 4.33:
(Defining from Verse 13.12)
अध्यात्मज्ञाननित्यत्वं तत्त्वज्ञानार्थदर्शनम् ।
एतज्ज्ञानमिति प्रोक्तमज्ञानं यदतोऽन्यथा ॥ १३-१२॥
Constancy in self-knowledge and seeing God as the object of true knowledge-all this is declared-as knowledge, and what is contrary to this is called ignorance.
श्रेयान्द्रव्यमयाद्यज्ञाज्ज्ञानयज्ञः परन्तप ।
सर्वं कर्माखिलं पार्थ ज्ञाने परिसमाप्यते ॥ ४-३३॥
Arjuna, sacrifice through Knowledge, is superior to sacrifice performed with material things. For all actions without exception culminate in Knowledge, O son of Kunti.
अपि चेदसि पापेभ्यः सर्वेभ्यः पापकृत्तमः ।
सर्वं ज्ञानप्लवेनैव वृजिनं सन्तरिष्यसि ॥ ४-३६॥
Even if you were the most sinful of all sinners, this Knowledge alone would carry you, like a raft, across all your sins.
यथैधांसि समिद्धोऽग्निर्भस्मसात्कुरुतेऽर्जुन ।
ज्ञानाग्निः सर्वकर्माणि भस्मसात्कुरुते तथा ॥ ४-३७॥
For, as the blazing fire reduces the fuel to ashes, Arjuna, even so the fire of Knowledge turns all actions to ashes.
न हि ज्ञानेन सदृशं पवित्रमिह विद्यते ।
तत्स्वयं योगसंसिद्धः कालेनात्मनि विन्दति ॥ ४-३८॥
In this world there is no purifier as great as Knowledge; he who has attained purity of heart through prolonged practice of Karmayoga, automatically sees the light of Truth in the self in course of time.
उदाराः सर्व एवैते ज्ञानी त्वात्मैव मे मतम् ।
आस्थितः स हि युक्तात्मा मामेवानुत्तमां गतिम् ॥ ७-१८॥
Indeed, all these are noble, but the man of wisdom is My very self; such is My view. For such a devotee, who has his mind and intellect merged in Me, is firmly established in Me alone as the highest goal.
People may get confuse between Jnana and Karma Yoga, Krishna resolved it by:
साङ्ख्ययोगौ पृथग्बालाः प्रवदन्ति न पण्डिताः ।
एकमप्यास्थितः सम्यगुभयोर्विन्दते फलम् ॥ ५-४॥
It is the ignorant, not the wise, who say that Samkhyayoga and Karmayoga lead to divergent results. For, one who is firmly established in either, gets the fruit of both which is the same, viz., God-realization.
True Yogi attain the absolute supreme goal:
सर्वद्वाराणि संयम्य मनो हृदि निरुध्य च ।
मूर्ध्न्याधायात्मनः प्राणमास्थितो योगधारणाम् ॥ ८-१२॥
ओमित्येकाक्षरं ब्रह्म व्याहरन्मामनुस्मरन् ।
यः प्रयाति त्यजन्देहं स याति परमां गतिम् ॥ ८-१३॥
Having controlled all the senses, and firmly holding the mind in the heart, and then drawing the life-breath to the head, and thus remaining steadfast in Yogic concentration on God, he who leaves the body and departs uttering the one Indestructible Brahma, OM, and dwelling on Me in My absolute aspect, reaches the supreme goal.
Now, It is time to go on very useful preaching by Krishna to Arjuna which is given in Adhyaya-12 called Bhakti Yoga Verse 12.8 to 12.12:
मय्येव मन आधत्स्व मयि बुद्धिं निवेशय ।
निवसिष्यसि मय्येव अत ऊर्ध्वं न संशयः ॥ १२-८॥
अथ चित्तं समाधातुं न शक्नोषि मयि स्थिरम् ।
अभ्यासयोगेन ततो मामिच्छाप्तुं धनञ्जय ॥ १२-९॥
अभ्यासेऽप्यसमर्थोऽसि मत्कर्मपरमो भव ।
मदर्थमपि कर्माणि कुर्वन्सिद्धिमवाप्स्यसि ॥ १२-१०॥
अथैतदप्यशक्तोऽसि कर्तुं मद्योगमाश्रितः ।
सर्वकर्मफलत्यागं ततः कुरु यतात्मवान् ॥ १२-११॥
श्रेयो हि ज्ञानमभ्यासाज्ज्ञानाद्ध्यानं विशिष्यते ।
ध्यानात्कर्मफलत्यागस्त्यागाच्छान्तिरनन्तरम् ॥ १२-१२॥
- Therefore, fix your mind on Me, and establish your intellect in Me alone; thereafter you will abide solely in Me. There is no doubt about it.
- If you cannot steadily fix the mind on Me,Arjuna, then seek to attain Me through the Yoga of practice.
- If you are unequal even to the pursuit of such practice, be intent to work for Me; you shall attain perfection (in the form of My realization) even by performing actions for My sake.
- If, taking recourse to the Yoga of My realization, you are unable even to do this, then, subduing your mind and intellect etc., relinquish the fruit of all actions.
- Knowledge is better than practice without discernment, meditation on God is superior to knowledge, and renunciation of the fruit of actions is even superior to meditation; for, peace immediately follows renunciation.
The last thing to include is the very secret teaching by Krishna:
सर्वगुह्यतमं भूयः शृणु मे परमं वचः ।
इष्टोऽसि मे दृढमिति ततो वक्ष्यामि ते हितम् ॥ १८-६४॥
Hear, again, My supremely profound words, the most esoteric of all truths; as you are extremely dear to Me, therefore, I shall give you this salutary
advice for your own good.
मन्मना भव मद्भक्तो मद्याजी मां नमस्कुरु ।
मामेवैष्यसि सत्यं ते प्रतिजाने प्रियोऽसि मे ॥ १८-६५॥
Give your mind to Me, be devoted to Me, worship Me and bow to Me. Doing so, you will come to Me alone, I truly promise you; for, you are exceptionally dear to Me.
सर्वधर्मान्परित्यज्य मामेकं शरणं व्रज ।
अहं त्वा सर्वपापेभ्यो मोक्षयिष्यामि मा शुचः ॥ १८-६६॥
Resigning all your duties to Me, the all-powerful and all supporting Lord, take refuge in Me alone; I shall absolve you of all sins, worry not.
Similar assurance By God:
यदा यदा हि धर्मस्य ग्लानिर्भवति भारत ।
अभ्युत्थानमधर्मस्य तदात्मानं सृजाम्यहम् ॥ ४-७॥
परित्राणाय साधूनां विनाशाय च दुष्कृताम् ।
धर्मसंस्थापनार्थाय सम्भवामि युगे युगे ॥ ४-८॥
Arjuna, whenever righteousness is on the decline, unrighteousness is in the ascendant, then I body Myself forth. For the protection of the virtuous, for the extirpation of evil-doers, and for establishing Dharma (righteousness) on a firm footing, I manifest Myself from age to age.
अन्तकाले च मामेव स्मरन्मुक्त्वा कलेवरम् ।
यः प्रयाति स मद्भावं याति नास्त्यत्र संशयः ॥ ८-५॥
He who departs from the body, thinking of Me alone even at the time of death, attains My state; there is no doubt about it.
पार्थ नैवेह नामुत्र विनाशस्तस्य विद्यते ।
न हि कल्याणकृत्कश्चिद् दुर्गतिं तात गच्छति ॥ ६-४०॥
Shri Bhagavan said : Arjuna, there is no fall for him either here or hereafter. For, O My beloved, none who strives for self-redemption (i.e., God-
realization) ever meets with evil destiny.
आब्रह्मभुवनाल्लोकाः पुनरावर्तिनोऽर्जुन ।
मामुपेत्य तु कौन्तेय पुनर्जन्म न विद्यते ॥ ८-१६॥
Arjuna, all the worlds from Brahmaloka (the heavenly realm of the Creator, BrahmA) downwards are liable to birth and rebirth. But, O son of Kunti, on attaining Me there is no rebirth (For, while I am beyond Time, regions like Brahmaloka, being conditioned by time, are transitory).
Upanishads are believed to be an extract of Vedas and Srimad Bhagavad Gita is believed to be an extract of Upanishads!!
Shrimad Bhagavad Gita is a Smriti Prashthan for Prashthantrayi of Vedanta.