Category Archives: Bhagavad Geeta

Essence of Bhagavad Gita!

A disciple once asked his Guru, “Guru Maharaj, we have heard your exposition on all the great scriptures. But when it comes to the Bhagavad Geeta, we feel that it occupies a more special and significant place in your heart?” The teacher smiled and said, “My son! In life, whenever we meet anyone, the first thing we do is to get introduced to each other. But do you realize, we have never got introduced to ourselves at any point of time in our life. Bhagavad Geeta is the text that first introduced me to myself! Self-introduction is the first step towards self-discipline and spiritual life. Hence the Geeta has a very special place in my heart.”
It is the style of the scriptures that the entire contents of the text is indicated by a few specific and significant words.

In the Bhagavad Gita: the first chapter, the first verse, the first line and the first word is DHARMA. The last chapter, the last verse, the last line and the last word is MAMA. The entire contents of seven hundred verses of the Geeta is between these two words. If we put the two words together it becomes DHARMA MAMA. On interchanging, it becomes MAMA DHARMA. MAMA means ‘my’. The word DHARMA is derived from the root “dhri” which means “to uphold, sustain or support”. Therefore DHARMA denotes that which holds together the different aspects and qualities of an object into a whole. DHARMA represents “the law of being”, meaning “that which makes a thing or being what it is”. It indicates the essential nature of anything without which it cannot retain its independent existence. So, MAMA DHARMA means ‘my law of being’. If we are to live as true dynamic beings in the world, we must live faithful to our true nature as human beings, and the Geeta explains to Me “my Dharma”. It is not pointing out to someone else’s Dharma, but pointing out to each one of us – our own “my” Dharma.

The Bhagavad Geeta through the seven hundred verses across the eighteen chapters is significantly pointing out to each one of us our own Dharma to be followed in all places, at all times, in all situations, irrespective of who we are, where we are, what we are and how we are, in the materialistic or in the spiritual realm. Dharma takes care of not only individual well-being, but includes collective well-being also.

After understanding what exactly constitutes our Dharma, what is the next step? The first two opening words of the first chapter gives us the instructions. “Dharmakshetre Kurukshetre” can be further split into four words. Dharma – Kshetre – Kuru – Kshetre. ‘Kuru‘ means ‘to do‘. ‘Kshetre‘ means ‘field of activity‘. Therefore, if the words are reassembled it becomes: “Kshetre Kshetre Kuru Dharma“, which means “in each and every field of activity do your dharma“. This is simply aligning ourselves every moment of our lives in and through our daily activities with the Higher Reality, with the Lord.

"Geeta: it is a call to each one of us to get up and fight the battle of our own life, according to our own vasanas (swadharma)"~ Swami Chinmayananda

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Sri Krishna Janmashtami – Significance

Lord Krishna’s birth

Mathura represents the State of Bliss which is our own inner inherent Nature. Devaki represents the mind with divine and noble traits and Vasudeva represents the intellect which is the master of the sense-organs. Though well-integrated, the mind and intelllect are in the prison of their own bondages in their own Kingdom of Bliss. The reason is the ruling tyrant called Kamsa, the ego. Kamsa: Kah Sah – represents “one who questions the principles of the Higher Reality”. Every child born to this couple represents spiritual sadhana which the ego immediately destroys for its own survival. 

It was midnight on the ashtami day (the middle day) of the dark fortnight of the dark month of Shravan during the six dark months of the year, the Dakshinayana Punyakala. The whole of Mathura was asleep. Only Mother Nature was awake and was sending down showers of joy in the form of rain heralding the birth of Lord Krishna. In the thickest of this darkness, Lord Krishna was born. The darkness represents the spiritual ignorance with which the whole world of things and beings is enveloped. The birth of Lord Krishna represents the “birth of spirituality” in an individual. Lord Krishna represents the ‘Light of Knowledge’ which alone can dispel the ‘darkness of spiritual ignorance’ and lead the seeker towards liberation. When an individual chooses to walk the path of righteousness, he is automatically aligned to the laws of Nature and Mother Nature in turn reciprocates back. This is indicated by the joyous showers! The month of Shravana represents ‘sravan’ or ‘listening’ (to scriptural texts). Krishna is born under the Rohini Nakshatra. Rohini means to move upwards (higher). Rohini is the consort of Lord Chandra (Moon) who is the presiding deity of our mind. Therefore ‘rohini’ represents the noble spiritual desires in a pure mind. Ashtami is very significant. On this day, the moon has the least influence on the oceanic waters. Moon being the lord of our mind, on the ashtami day, the mind is least disturbed by the agitation of thoughts. When do we start our spiritual journey? Today! What about the auspicious time? Right now! Hence when Krishna was born all the planets were in their most favourable positions!

Krishna has to be protected from Kamsa and therefore he is taken to Gokula. In the initial stages of our spiritual journey, our mind which is pursuing the spiritual sadhana has to be protected from our own ego and therefore has to be protected and strengthened all around by noble and virtuous thoughts. This is represented by Krishna growing up amidst the Gopis, the Gopas and the cows in Gokula. They represent sattvic and divine thoughts. ‘Go’ means ‘knowledge or virtues’ and ‘kula’ means ‘family’. Gokula represents the perfect conducive environment for our spiritual growth. Therefore, ‘Krishna Janmotsava’ represents the birth of spirituality within oneself. Krishna stands for Sachidananda, the GOAL to be reached, and all His divine leelas represent the PATH to be pursued by the seeker.

On the auspicious occasion of Krishnashtami, little foot-prints are drawn starting from the main door upto the altar of Krishna in the puja room. They represent little Krishna’s foot-prints. We invoke the Lord to enter our house and sanctify our home with His auspicious presence. The house represents our body and the puja-rooom represents our heart or the innermost core of our being. The foot-prints starting from the main door upto the puja-room represents a mind turned “within” in devotion unto the Lord or a mind in contemplation upon the Higher Reality. Therefore, this little ritual signifies the Lord entering into our heart and making it His permanent abode. It also signifies the merger of the mind with the Higher to reach the State of Enlightenment.

“Sri Krishna Govinda Hare Murari! Hey Natha Narayana Vasudeva!”
“Sri Krishna Saranam Mama!”

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Gitopadesha Scene – Its Significance

The GEETOPADESHA SCENE depicts a divine chariot drawn by five white horses, in the back-drop of the battlefield. The two parties facing each other are the Pandavas and the Kauravas. The chariot is driven by Lord Krishna in the driver’s seat. On the top of the chariot is the flag carrying the symbol of Hanuman. The reins of the horses are in the hands of the charioteer Sri Krishna. Behind Krishna is the master of the chariot, Arjuna. Arjuna has dropped his weapons and with folded hands seeking guidance from Sri Krishna. Krishna with the reins still in His hands is turned sideways, so that the horses as well as Arjuna are in His view. With a loving assurance of His support represented by the right hand in “abhaya” (fearless) mudra, Lord Krishna is smilingly advising His disciple Arjuna.

Vedantic Interpretation: The battlefield represents life’s battle. The Pandavas and the Kauravas represent the positive and the negative aspects of our personality. The chariot represents the human body. The five white horses are the five sense-organs of perception under self-control. The sense-organs are well-reined and held together by the intellect, represented by Sri Krishna. Arjuna represents the individual seeker’s mind which has totally surrendered all activities (represented by dropping the weapons) onto the Higher. Hanuman depicted in the flag represents the grace of the Guru on the spiritual student. The higher-intellect (Krishna) is advising the lower-mind (Arjuna) on the HIGHER WAYS of LIFE. Krishna turned sideways indicates an intellect which is able to contain both the sense-organs (horses) and Arjuna (mind).

The Geeta is a total and exhaustive summary of the philosophy of the Upanishads and though it reads as simple and elementary, in its import and deeper significances, the Divine Song exhausts the entire Knowledge – Swami Chinmayananda

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Sarvam Krishnamayam!

The people of Vrindavan were rejoicing with Lord Krishna amidst them.The Lord’s adventures and playful sports, His mischief and pranks, His love and affection was the only topic of discussion in every house. Not only the people but even the trees and animals, the cows and calves – all were in blissful ecstasy. Suddenly a strange but strong desire came to them. Every Gopi wanted to experience the joy of having Krishna as her child! Every cow wanted Krishna as its calf! The trees wanted Krishna alone to climb them!The Yamuna wanted Krishna alone to play in her! The Lord decided to fulfill their desires.

At the same time, Lord Brahma overwhelmed by Lord’s maya, and not understanding the true glory of the Lord, decided to test the divine power of Lord Krishna. He came down and put all the boys of Vrindavan, the cows and calves under the charm of sleep and took them to his loka. He wanted to see what Krishna would do now. Krishna came to know what Brahma had done and immediately He the ONE, multiplied Himself to become the many. He Himself became the cowherd boys, the cows and calves! And at dusk time, Krishna alone as ALL OF THEM went back to their respective homes. No one knew what had happened, because everything looked normal. This went on for a whole year. 

All the people and especially the Gopis were very happy. Suddenly their children were very bright, good and obedient! The milk that the cows were giving was more in quantity and divinely sweet! The calves were more endearing! It was all Krishna and Krishna ALONE in so many different forms and the whole of Vrindavan was “Sarvam Krishnamayam!” It was Madhuram! Madhuram! And Madhuram! Everyone’s desire was fulfilled!!

Almost at the end of the year, Brahma came down to see what was the situation in Vrindavan and to his surprise he found everything absolutely normal. All the cowherd boys, the cows and calves were all there just as before in Vrindavan. How could all of them be in two places at one and the same time!?  

And suddenly in the place of each cowherd boy, he saw Lord Narayana Himself in all His pristine glory. Overwhelmed by the vision of so many forms of Sri Narayana, Brahma offered his salutations to the Supreme Lord. The Lord then withdrew His cosmic form. Brahma got up and now in front of him was the charming Divine Cowherd Boy – Balagopala. He now realized the Lord’s might and power, and His infinite glory. He approached Lord Krishna, prostrated to Him and prayerfully sought His forgiveness for doubting the glory of the Lord.The Lord of Compassion forgave him. All the cowherd boys, the cows and calves he had carried now returned back home. They all were totally unaware of what had happened – it was just like getting up from sleep.

Brahma went back to His world reflecting on how blessed the Gopas and Gopis were, how blessed the cows and calves were, how blessed the inhabitants of Vraja were, how blessed the soil of Vrindavan was to carry the tiny imprints of the lotus feet of the Lord on its surface, and how blessed indeed is one who is born in Vrindavan!!

Next: Significance of Chin-Mudra!
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