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Bhagavad Gita - Yoga Teacher's guide to most important Yoga Book

Updated: Mar 7

Introduction

The Bhagavad Gita, called ‘The Gita’, is an epic excerpt from the Mahabharata. A highly regarded yogic text, the teachings of the Gita are a unique collection of scriptures that is considered both Shruti (divine revelation) & Smriti (ancient stories).

Backdrop


Set in Kurukshetra, the Gita is considered one of the eternal Vedic literature that still holds relevance in today’s world. It is a story of Krishna leading Arjuna into the battlefield and a spiritual text about the inner struggle for self-mastery & achieving happiness through yoga.


Essence of Bhagavad Gita

The Context

The epicentre of the Gita is a conversation between Arjuna, the Warrior Prince and Krishna, a human incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Arjuna is conflicted and uncomfortable about going to war with his family. Krishna refuses to let Arjuna off the hook and chooses this opportunity to teach Prince Arjuna an essential lesson about standing against injustice.


He encourages the prince to overcome his discomfort and do what is right without any attachment to the outcome. As a part of this dialogue exchange between Krishna and Arjuna, Krishna reveals philosophical and Yogic knowledge to Arjuna. Through this dialogue, Arjuna’s doubts are resolved and he can proceed with the act of dharma.


Teachings of Krishna

During their conversation, Krishna teaches Arjuna about duty and action, love and knowledge of self. He advises Arjuna that when guided by the spirit, there is no guilt in taking action to protect what is good and destroy what is evil. Arjuna is in despair at the battlefield upon seeing that the enemies are not his enemies after all; they are his family & loved ones. At this moment, he was overcast with doubt & despair. Overcome by grief, he began to weep at the battlefield, refusing to fight.


Life of the Modern Mind

This holds equal relevance in today's world. Therefore, we cannot control outcomes and must detach ourselves from expectations surrounding outcomes.

When the spirit guides us, we are also guided by love and the actions of love; together with the proper knowledge, they create the perfect recipe for integrity & justice.

Much like Arjuna’s dilemma, we are surrounded by injustice when people who form an inner circle of our lives, both as a family & friends, are actively involved in injustice.


In such situations, we more often than not decide to take comfort in being a silent witness rather than holding them accountable.


This is due to our deep-rooted fear of how damaging the outcome may be to us, them and our long-standing relationship. We eventually don’t hold ourselves and each other accountable and somehow end up being enablers of injustice.


The Bhagavad Gita is food for thought from the divine incarnate (Krishna) to the divine incarnate (Arjuna). The intent is for Arjuna to know himself and trust that the divine Self within him will not allow him to do wrong.


How do we go deeper into Gita's study?

If you are interested in learning the shlokas of the Bhagavad Gita from every chapter and deepening your knowledge of the Gita, you can take the advanced yoga teacher training with Samyak. We study the Gita from the traditional perspective to the modern application of it.


Book Recommendations

Most often our study of Gita stops before starting because of the bad book recommendations. Sometimes the book might be good. But we may not be ready to study that book at the moment.

I would definitely recommend Devdutt Patnaik's 'My Gita' to start.


Summary

In today's world, the story of Arjuna represents any of us who has encountered evil and doubted our right to take action. And since the divine source is pure love, self-awareness is critical to taking action that facilitates positive outcomes. Krishna’s role isn’t just limited to his duty; it is an appeal to the heart.


When we realise that love is our actual state of being, our entire perspective shifts towards treating one another with love; this is why the Bhagavad Gita is a powerful symbol of self-awareness and love in action.


Not only does Krishna remind Arjuna of who he is, but he also tells him that the path of duty, devotion, and knowledge of Self are the secrets to finding inner peace in a world far from perfect.

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