Written by Vanya Nanda, a grade 8 student.
The Mahabharata is one of the two great epics of India, and Geeta is a part of it. The story is centered around a great war – on one side are the Pandavas, who are courageous and noble; on the other side are the Kauravas, who are not that brave. When the war is about to begin, Arjuna, the greatest archer of the world (who is one of the Pandavas) loses his nerve. He suddenly realizes that he is about to destroy some of his closest family members – his grandfather, his cousins, his teachers, and other close relatives.
Sick with despair, he lays down arms and turns to his friend, philosopher and guide. Krishna for guidance. The two of them have a conversation and this conversation we know today as the Bhagwat Gita. In the course of this conversation, there is plenty of disagreement. Arjuna argues, challenges, questions Krishna. But, through all of this neither of them is ever offensive, needlessly aggressive, or confrontational. This was a difficult conversation for Krishna because Arjuna is his friend and he is very depressed but Krishna does not pull his punches, he does not hesitate to point out Arjuna’s weaknesses, he does not hesitate to dismiss his excuses but he does all of this with great compassion and understanding. He stands patiently and steadfast by Arjuna’s side while he works through his confusion.
The Bhagwat Geeta, unlike other epics, does not show the way in which you should worship or shows how to fight, but it tells us the most common and important aspects of our life and how to overcome all our problems.
Everybody has a different interpretation of the Bhagwat Gita. Though it is a part of Mahabharata, it is studied and commented upon as an independent text, complete in itself.
The Bhagwat Gita is related to the Vaisnava doctrine because it shows Vishnu as the Supreme Lord of the Universe. Thus the Gita is not only the revelation by Krishna but a revelation of Krishna as the supreme being.
The Gita explains a very simple concept of doing your work regardless of the outcome. It says, when we work keeping the fruits of our labour in mind, we can never really give our best. It’s because we are overly obsessed with the possible rewards. We are worried about getting the best in it. We may also feel disheartened if our task or action does not yield good outputs. Therefore, just doing our work without really thinking about its result should be our motive. Find contentment in the journey you are on, regardless of the outcome!
It says that life-death, profit- loss, fame- infamy are not in our hands, but in the hand of God. Krishna explains that the enemy is not who stands in front of you but is within you. Do not fear anything. Your imagination leads to fears and fears limit your possibilities. Our body is mortal and so it seeks security and creates boundaries. But within this body is the immortal soul that does not seek security and so, does not care for boundaries. Wrapped in mortal flesh, it experiences life and death, again and again.
By introducing the idea of immortality and rebirth, Krishna changes the scope of the discussion, for without death serving as a boundary, there is no fear, no yearning for food or meaning, nowhere to come from, or go to, for the end is no longer the end and the beginning is no longer the beginning. Rather than change the world the defies control, rather than seek validation from temporary things, we engage, observe, discover and enjoy.
With these words Krishna simply renders death irrelevant. He transforms the battlefield into one of the infinite experiences of the immortal resident of the mortal body. Arjuna is naturally startled. Krishna responds by revealing that he has lived before, as has Arjuna; he remembers it, but Arjuna is trapped in the outer world of tangible objects and has no insight into the inner world of intangible thoughts. Together they change the view of life.
It teaches us to say with conviction that the world is my home and every creature living in it is my family. One of the very worldly topics that the Gita touches upon is the ideal diet plan that one should follow. The Gita says that we should eat food that is juicy which means fresh, tender, unprocessed, nourishing and that is agreeable to the system.
Krishna also says that those who commit acts of violence on their bodies by denying themselves food and water confusing self-torture with devotion are truly misguided. We must not assume that the story we encounter, experience or remember is the only story in the world. Our lives are the outcomes of roles performed in other stories. Even if we don’t remember these stories or those roles we cannot escape the consequences.
The world into which we are born is imagined as a stage full of actors but with no script, or director. Everyone assumes that they are the hero, but discover that they are not. We are forced to play certain roles and speak certain dialogues. But we revolt. We want our own script to be performed and so we negotiate with other actors. Heros emerged. Villains emerge. Heros of one story turn out to be villains of others. Eventually, all leave the stage but the play continues.
I am not the source of Gita. but I don’t want to be merely its transmitter like Sanjaya. Though I don’t stand on the brink of any battle, I want to understand like Arjuna.
Written by Vanya Nanda
Please note: the views expressed in all opinion pieces belong to the writer. They do not reflect the opinions of the platform. I Kid You Not believes in giving a voice to today’s children, not matter what side of the debate they are on.