Theme of the Month February: 'Diving Into the Bhagavad Gita'
by Kevin Sahaj, 31-Jan-2019
"Now I am confused about my duty and have lost all composure because of weakness.
In this condition, I am asking You to tell me clearly what is best for me.
Now I am Your disciple, and a soul surrendered unto You. Please instruct me."
This is the beginning of a new year's dive into the deep Yogic and spiritual treasure of the Bhagavad Gita. The Bhagavad Gita is translated as "The Song of God", and it is a collection of beautiful ancient Sanskrit verses from the much larger Mahabharata coming from the wisdom of India. It is the foundation and the most important yogic text along with the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali giving guidance and inspiration to practitioners of yoga for centuries. The Gita is a dialogue between the mighty warrior Arjuna and the Divine Person Krishna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. In this story, we are given the precious teachings of liberation from suffering by Krishna (our inner divine teacher) to Arjuna (who is the symbol of ourselves). At its heart, the Gita is a teaching from the universal love and consciousness to help the human being in search of truth and liberation. Many consider the Gita to be the most important spiritual document coming from the vast wisdom of India.
In short, the Gita starts with the description of a vast battlefield where Krishna, the driver of the chariot, and Arjuna face an enormous army consisting of many great warriors and also beloved friends, teachers and family. In facing the prospect of fighting everyone he knows and loves, because of the greed of an evil-minded king, he loses heart and drops his bow refusing to fight. wherein Krishna gives his loving guidance on the spiritual path.
So with humbleness and gratitude, I will share the significance of the setting of the battlefield and the essential message at the beginning of the Gita as I understand it. For the yogi, the battlefield of the Bhagavad Gita is an inner story about spiritual confidence and perseverance with the guidance of Krishna (the Divine inner teacher), in the face of overwhelming and insurmountable inner and outer difficulties. It is trusting the soul's small voice of truth and light in the midst of the darkness of inner confusion and challenges of life. Life often feels like a confusing battle between opposing inner forces and outer situations that disturb our peace. The opposing armies represent our sense distractions, social conditioning, attachments and aversions and when a soul, like Arjuna, has finally seen the futility of this battle with one's self, there is deep despair and a feeling of giving up the fight. That is when the Divine voice of Krishna comes to guide the soul back to the light. We are all in this situation of inner conflict that seems like a battle, and a few of us, perhaps yourself, are now unable to move without the Divine guidance of Krishna to come out of the ignorance into divine love and freedom. The Gita is the voice of our inner teacher may you find inspiration from this amazing text in the coming year. May you open your heart and listen to the words of the Gita so that you will find the door to the infinite!
"The Gita is the universal mother. She turns away nobody. Her door is wide open to anyone who knocks. A true votary of Gita does not know what disappointment is. He ever dwells in perennial joy and peace that passeth understanding. But that peace and joy come not to the sceptic or to him who is proud of his intellect or learning. It is reserved only for the humble in spirit who brings to her worship a fullness of faith and an undivided singleness of mind. There never was a man who worshipped her in that spirit and went disappointed. I find solace in the Bhagavad-Gita that I miss even in the Sermon on the Mount. When disappointment stares me in the face and all alone I see not one ray of light, I go back to the Bhagavad-Gita. I find a verse here and a verse there, and I immediately begin to smile in the midst of overwhelming tragedies -- and my life has been full of external tragedies -- and if they have left no visible or indelible scar on me, I owe it all to the teaching of Bhagavad-Gita."
Kevin Sahaj is a dedicated yoga practitioner who has been studying and practicing yoga for 30 years. His approach to teaching is eclectic and draws from many different methods and teachings to help students align their lives towards awakening.