Introduction to Bhagwat Gita Facts

Lord Krishna spoke the Bhagavad-Gita on the battlefield of Kuruksetra in 3102 B.C.; just prior to the commencement of the Mahabharata war. This date corresponds to 1700 years before Moses, 2500 years before Buddha, 3000 years before Jesus and 3800 years before Mohammed. So first and foremost it should be clearly understood that the eternal knowledge of the Bhagavad-Gita has not been influenced by Buddhism, Christianity, Hebrewism or Islam; for these religions did not exist at that time and were established milleniums later.
That proof of the date 3102 B.C. can be verified by any knowledgeable indologist in India based on the fact that this was the year when the Pandava King Yudhisthira ascended the throne and was coronated as emperor of the Earth. Also according to the Aihole inscription of Pulakesin II, the Battle of Kuruksetra took place in 3102 B.C. with Lord Krishna reciting the Bhagavad-Gita before its commencement. As well precise information of the positions of the constellation at the commencement of the Battle of Kuruksetra have been given in the great historical epic Mahabharata itself, which is based on the 26,920 year astronomical cycle known as the precession of the equinoxes which is the time it takes our solar system to revolve around the central sun.
But who exactly is Lord Krishna? Is He Narayana? Is He Vishnu? Is He Vasudeva as referred to in the Taittirya Aranyaka 10.1. 6 ? In the Bhagavad-Gita the Supreme Lord Krishna is addressed by Arjuna with 41 different names. Some of these names are Acyuta, Bhagavan, Govinda, Hari, Isvara, Janardana, Kesava, Madhava, Purusottama and Yogesvara as well as Vasudeva and Vishnu. Although Lord Krishna possesses unlimited names due to His unlimited attributes and potencies it should be clearly understood that the Krishna who is so wonderfully presented in the Puranas is one and the same Krishna who spoke the Bhagavad-Gita and is so marvelously glorified in the Mahabharata.
It should be understood that the Bhagavad-Gita is the very essence of Mahabharata. The Bhagavad-Gita literally translates as the Song of God! It was originally revealed in the classical language of Sanskrit spoken on the Indian sub-continent. It was first translated into English in 1785 by Charles Wilkins. It was translated into Latin in 1823 by Schlegel, into German in 1826 by Von Humbolt, into French in 1846 by Lassens and into Greek in 1848 by Galanos. By now it has been translated into all the major languages of the world such as Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Hebrew, Portugese, Arabic, Hindi and Bengali.
Many great and notable individuals from modern times as well as bygone eras have read the Bhagavad-Gita and have extolled its universal message. We are naming some of them:

Albert Einstein stated that when reading the Bhagavad-Gita he thinks about how God created the universe and then everything else seemed so superfluous. Mahatma Gandhi stated that the Bhagavad-Gita calls on humanity to dedicate mind, body and soul to purity.
Dr. Albert Schweizer stated that the Bhagavad-Gita has a profound influence on the spirit of mankind by its devotion to God which is manifested in all actions.
Sri Aurobindo stated the Bhagavad-Gita has a new message for every age and every civilization.
Herman Hesse stated that the wonder of the Bhagavad-Gita is its beautiful revelation of life's wisdom which has made philosophy blossom into religion.
Ramanuja has stated that the Bhagavad-Gita reveals the goalof the all the Vedic scriptures.
Aldous Huxley stated that the Bhagavad-Gita is the most comprhensive statement of perennial philosophy.
Madhvacarya has stated that the Bhagavad-Gita is apauruseya which means of divine origin and eternal.
Some western scholars have expressed opinions that the Bhagavad-Gita was written after Jesus Christ and the idea of devotion was taken from him. But anyone who has read both the Bible and the Bhagavad-Gita completely can easily discern the vast difference between the two. The Bible being more of a history book relates in the New Testament stories and pertinent facts regarding the life of Jesus. On the other hand the Bhagavad-Gita gives exact information regarding God, the soul, material nature, birth and death, the purpose of human existence and is a practical manual for spiritual revelation and attainment. It is interesting to note that the two foremost doctrines of Christianity as found in the Bible in Matthew, chapter 22, verses 37 and 39 which say: Love thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul and with all thy mind; and love thy neighbor as thyself are not minimized but completely validated by the Bhagavad-Gita. The book Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, volume six, page 696 states, " It is certain that portions of the Bhagavad-Gita in which the doctrine of bhakti or love of God is revealed are pre-Christian and of indigenous Indian origin. This is not only limited to the devotional portions; but the entirety of the Bhagavad-Gita is pre-Christian. Also it has been well noted by sanskrit scholars that in terms of grammatical construction many sentences and the archaic forms of many words do not follow the strict rules of grammar which all sanskrit scholars follow as expounded given by Panini, who lived in the 6th century B.C. Not only is the Bhagavad-Gita pre-Christian; but it is also pre-Buddhistic as well. That the Bhagavad-Gita is pre-Buddhistic can be determined by the fact that no where is there any reference to Buddhism. Whereas in the Buddhist scripture Niddesa written in 4 B.C. in the Pali Canon is found reference to the worship of Vasudeva and Baladeva, who are Krishna and Balarama respectively. Although some scholars surmise that the mention of nirvana six times gives them reason to assume that this might be contrary. The word nirvana is always compounded with the word brahma as in brahma-nirvanam meaning identified with the Ultimate truth or with the word paramam as in nirvana-paramam meaning identified with the Supreme. In Buddhism the word nirvana is used to mean extinguished or dissolved in terms of loss of separate existence. As the word nirvana by itself is also used in the Mahabharata in the sense of extinction it can be determined that the Buddhists received this concept of nirvana from earlier Vedic scriptures.
Many of you have been taught by your religions that God is to be feared. Many of you have been taught that this life is all their is and after this life there is nothing more. Others have been taught that after death one goes to heaven or hell. Still other have been taught that it is possible for the soul to be possessed. Some of you believe the possibility of reincarnation and others among you cannot fathom what is true and what is false. Many of you have been conditioned by erroneous conceptions, programed by false realities and even brainwashed to follow belief systems that intelligently it is difficult to follow.
Now we are giving everyone the oppurtunity to learn the eternal message of Bhagavad-Gita. All intelligent species of life, human being and otherwise can take advantage of these instructions and benefit eternally by the transcendental knowledge contained within the Bhagavad-Gita and we are confident that this realization will manifest as a reality in the forseeable future.

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 1: Observing the Armies on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra

As the opposing armies stand poised for battle, Arjuna, the mighty warrior, sees his intimate relatives, teachers and friends in both armies ready to fight and sacrifice their lives.

Dhritarâshtra said:
1. Tell me, O Sanjaya! Assembled on Kurukshetra, the centre of religious activity, desirous to fight, what indeed did my people and the Pândavas do? 1
p. 2
Sanjaya said:
2. But then King Duryodhana, having seen the Pândava forces in battle-array, approached his teacher Drona, and spoke these words: 2
p. 3
3. "Behold, O Teacher! this mighty army of the sons of Pându, arrayed by the son of Drupada, thy gifted pupil. 3
p. 4
4-6. "Here (are) heroes, mighty archers, the equals in battle of Bhima and Arjuna—the great warriors Yuyudhâna, Virâta, Drupada; the valiant Dhrishtaketu, Chekitâna and the king of Kâshi; the best of men, Purujit, Kunti-Bhoja and Shaivya; the powerful Yudhâmanyu, and the brave Uttamaujas, the son of Subhadrâ, and the sons of Draupadi,—lords of great chariots. 4
p. 5
7. "Hear also, O Best of the twice-born! the names of those who (are) distinguished amongst ourselves, the leaders of my army. These I relate (to you) for your information. 7
8. "Yourself and Bhishma and Karna and Kripa, the victorious in war. Asvatthâmâ and Vikarna and Jayadratha, the son of Somadatta. 8
p. 6
9. "And many other heroes also, well-skilled in fight, and armed with many kinds of weapons, are here, determined to lay down their lives for my sake.
10. "This our army defended by Bhishma (is) impossible to be counted, but that army of theirs, defended by Bhima (is) easy to number. 10
p. 7
11. "(Now) do, being stationed in your proper places in the divisions of the army, support Bhishma alone." 11
p. 8
12. That powerful, oldest of the Kurus, Bhishma the grandsire, in order to cheer Duryodhana, now sounded aloud a lion-roar and blew his conch. 12
13. Then following Bhishma, conches and kettle-drums, tabors, trumpets and
p. 9
cowhorns blared forth suddenly from the Kaurava side and the noise was tremendous.
14. Then, also, Mâdhava and Pândava, stationed in their magnificent chariot yoked with white horses, blew their divine conches with a furious noise.
p. 10
15. Hrishikesha blew the Pânchajanya, Dhananjaya, the Devadatta, and Vrikodara, the doer of terrific deeds, his large conch Paundra.
16. King Yudhishthira, son of Kunti, blew the conch named Anantavijaya, and Nakula and Sahadeva, their Sughosha and Manipushpaka.
17. The expert bowman, king of Kâshi, and the great warrior Shikhandi,
p. 11
[paragraph continues] Dhrishtadyumna and Virâta and the unconquered Sâtyaki;
18. O Lord of Earth! Drupada and the sons of Draupadi, and the mighty-armed son of Subhadrâ, all, also blew each his own conch.
19. And the terrific noise resounding throughout heaven and earth rent the hearts of Dhritarâshtra's party. 19
p. 12
20. Then, O Lord of Earth, seeing Dhritarâshtra's party standing marshalled and the shooting about to begin, that Pândava whose ensign was the monkey,
p. 13
raising his bow, said the following words to Krishna: 20
Arjuna said:
21-22. Place my chariot, O Achyuta! between the two armies that I may see those who stand here prepared for war. On this eve of battle (let me know) with whom I have to fight.
p. 14
23. For I desire to observe those who are assembled here for fight, wishing to please the evil-minded Duryodhana by taking his side on this battle-field. 23
p. 15
Sanjaya said:
24-25. Commanded thus by Gudâkesha, Hrishikesha, O Bhârata, drove that grandest of chariots to a place between the two hosts, facing Bhishma, Drona and all the rulers of the earth, and then spoke thus, "Behold, O Pârtha, all the Kurus gathered together!"
26. Then saw Pârtha stationed there in both the armies, grandfathers, fathers-in-law and uncles, brothers and cousins, his own and their sons and grandsons, and
p. 16
comrades, teachers, and other friends as well.
27. Then he, the son of Kunti, seeing all those kinsmen stationed in their ranks, spoke thus sorrowfully, filled with deep compassion.
p. 17
Arjuna said:
29. Seeing, O Krishna, these my kinsmen gathered here, eager for fight, my limbs fail me, and my mouth is parched up. I shiver all over, and my hair stands on end. The bow Gândiva slips from my hand, and my skin burns. 29
30. Neither, O Keshava, can I stand upright. My mind is in a whirl. And I see adverse omens.
p. 18
31. Neither, O Krishna, do I see any good in killing these my own people in battle. I desire neither victory nor empire, nor yet pleasure.
p. 19
32-34. Of what avail is dominion to us, of what avail are pleasures and even life, if these, O Govinda! for whose sake it is desired that empire, enjoyment and pleasure should be ours, themselves stand here in battle, having renounced life and wealth—Teachers, uncles, sons and also grandfathers, maternal uncles, fathers-in-law, grandsons, brothers-in-law, besides other kinsmen.
35. Even though these were to kill me, O slayer of Madhu, I could not wish to kill them, not even for the sake of dominion over the three worlds, how much less for the sake of the earth!
p. 20
36. What pleasure indeed could be ours, O Jnanârdana, from killing these sons of Dhritarâshtra? Sin only could take hold of us by the slaying of these felons. 36
p. 21
37. Therefore ought we not to kill our kindred, the sons of Dhritarâshtra. For how could we, O Mâdhava, gain happiness by the slaying of our own kinsmen?
38-39. Though these, with understanding overpowered by greed, see no evil due to decay of families, and no sin in hostility to friends, why should we, O Janârdana, who see clearly the evil due to
p. 22
the decay of families, not turn away from this sin?
40. On the decay of a family the immemorial religious rites of that family die out. On the destruction of spirituality, impiety further overwhelms the whole of the family.
41. On the prevalence of impiety, O Krishna, the women of the family become corrupt; and women being corrupted,
p. 23
there arises, O Vârshneya, intermingling of castes.
42. Admixture of castes, indeed, is for the hell of the family and the destroyers of the family; their ancestors fall, deprived of the offerings of rice-ball and water. 42
p. 24
43. By these misdeeds of the destroyers of the family, bringing about confusion of castes, are the immemorial religious rites of the caste and the family destroyed.
44. We have heard, O Janârdana, that inevitable is the dwelling in hell of those men in whose families religious practices have been destroyed.
p. 25
45. Alas, we are involved in a great sin, in that we are prepared to slay our kinsmen, from greed of the pleasures of a kingdom!
46. Verily, if the sons of Dhritarâshtra, weapons in hand, were to slay me, unresisting and unarmed, in the battle, that would be better for me.
p. 26
Sanjaya said:
47. Speaking thus in the midst of the battle-field, Arjuna casting away his bow and arrows, sank down on the seat of his chariot, with his mind distressed with sorrow.

The end of chapter first.
PURPORT
Bhagavad-gita is the widely read theistic science summarized in the Gita-mahatmya (Glorification of the Gita). There it says that one should read Bhagavad-gita very scrutinizingly with the help of a person who is a devotee of Sri Krsna and try to understand it without personally motivated interpretations. The example of clear understanding is there in the Bhagavad-gita itself, in the way the teaching is understood by Arjuna, who heard the Gita directly from the Lord. If someone is fortunate enough to understand Bhagavad-gita in that line of disciplic succession, without motivated interpretation, then he surpasses all studies of Vedic wisdom, and all scriptures of the world. One will find in the Bhagavad-gita all that is contained in other scriptures, but the reader will also find things which are not to be found elsewhere. That is the specific standard of the Gita. It is the perfect theistic science because it is directly spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krsna.
The topics discussed by Dhrtarastra and Sanjaya, as described in the Mahabharata, form the basic principle for this great philosophy. It is understood that this philosophy evolved on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra, which is a sacred place of pilgrimage from the immemorial time of the Vedic age. It was spoken by the Lord when He was present personally on this planet for the guidance of mankind.
The word dharma-ksetra (a place where religious rituals are performed) is significant because, on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra, the Supreme Personality of Godhead was present on the side of Arjuna. Dhrtarastra, the father of the Kurus, was highly doubtful about the possibility of his sons' ultimate victory. In his doubt, he inquired from his secretary Sanjaya, "What did my sons and the sons of Pandu do?" He was confident that both his sons and the sons of his younger brother Pandu were assembled in that Field of Kuruksetra for a determined engagement of the war. Still, his inquiry is significant. He did not want a compromise between the cousins and brothers, and he wanted to be sure of the fate of his sons on the battlefield. Because the battle was arranged to be fought at Kuruksetra, which is mentioned elsewhere in the Vedas as a place of worship—even for the denizens of heaven—Dhrtarastra became very fearful about the influence of the holy place on the outcome of the battle. He knew very well that this would influence Arjuna and the sons of Pandu favorably, because by nature they were all virtuous. Sanjaya was a student of Vyasa, and therefore, by the mercy of Vyasa, Sanjaya was able to envision the Battlefield of Kuruksetra even while he was in the room of Dhrtarastra. And so, Dhrtarastra asked him about the situation on the battlefield.
Both the Pandavas and the sons of Dhrtarastra belong to the same family, but Dhrtarastra's mind is disclosed herein. He deliberately claimed only his sons as Kurus, and he separated the sons of Pandu from the family heritage. One can thus understand the specific position of Dhrtarastra in his relationship with his nephews, the sons of Pandu. As in the paddy field the unnecessary plants are taken out, so it is expected from the very beginning of these topics that in the religious field of Kuruksetra where the father of religion, Sri Krsna, was present, the unwanted plants like Dhrtarastra's son Duryodhana and others would be wiped out and the thoroughly religious persons, headed by Yudhisthira, would be established by the Lord. This is the significance of the words dharma-ksetre and kuru-ksetre, apart from their historical and Vedic importance.

Footnotes to Chapter 1st- Bhagwad Gita

1:1 True it is that the two parties were gathered together for battle, but was the influence of Kurukshetra, the sacred centre of religious and spiritual activity from of old, barren of any result? Did not p. 3 the spiritual influence of the spot affect any of the leaders in a way unfavourable to the occurrence of the battle? is the purport of Dhritarâshtra's question.
2:2 Sanjaya's reply beginning with "But then" and describing Duryodhana's action is a plain hint to the old king that his son was afraid. For he went to his teacher (regarded as father) instead of to the commander-in-chief, as a child in fright would run to its parents in preference to others.
3:3 As a scorpion would sting even that whose protection is sought to be free from fear, so did the wicked Duryodhana insult his teacher. His meaning in plain words comes to this: just think of your stupidity in teaching the science of fight to the son of Drupada and to those of Pându. They are now arrayed to kill you!
4:4 great-charioted: one who is well-versed in the science of war and commands eleven thousand bowmen.
5:7 However well-versed in the science of war you might be, you are after all a Brâhmana (best of the twice-born) a lover of peace, that is to say, a coward. It is therefore natural for you to be afraid of the Pândava force. But take heart, we too have, great warriors in our ranks—is the veiled meaning of Duryodhana's words.
5:8 Afraid lest he had said too much Duryodhana is flattering Drona, by mentioning the latter before p. 6 even Bhishma and qualifying Drona's brother-in law with the phrase 'victorious in war,' a move likely to touch the heart of most mortals.
6:10 p. 7 In ancient Indian warfare, one commanding a force had for his main-stay a defender about him, whose position was no less important. Here are given the names of the chief defenders, and not of the chief commanders.
The verse is often interpreted to mean that Duryodhana considers his army inefficient and that of the enemy efficient. But this view seems inapposite to the context.
7:11 Since I cannot expect from you any initiative, do what you are told to do,—seems to be Duryodhana's intention.
8:12 All eyes were turned upon Duryodhana and the penetrating intelligence of Bhishma detected his fear; and since Drona took no notice of Duryodhana's words, knowing his grandson as he did, he had no difficulty in understanding that the latter had spoken to his teacher in a way which called forth Drona's coldness instead of his enthusiasm. The grandsire's heart was moved with pity and hence the action on his part described in the above verse. It should here be noted that this action, amounting to a challenge, really began the fight. It was the Kaurava side again which took the aggressor's part.
11:19 Verses 14-19 are full of hints about the superiority of the Pândava party and the consequent p. 12 sure defeat of Dhritarâshtra. The figure to which Sanjaya draws the old king's attention as first taking up Bhishma's challenge, is described by him as the Lord of Fortune and the Pândava—the best of the Pându princes. Note also the details in which the chariot, horses and conches of the Pândava party are described, and finally though the army of the Kauravas was more than a third as much again as that of the Pândavas, the noise made by the former was only tremendous, whereas that of the latter was not only tremendous but filled the earth and sky with reverberations and rent the hearts of the former.
13:20 In view of the sudden change of feeling that is to come over Arjuna it should be noted how full of the war-spirit we find him in this verse.
14:23 Arjuna is impatient to see who dared face him in fight!
17:29 Compassion overpowered him. Not that it was due to discrimination, but rather to the lack of this. He lost self-control—the first step into the abyss of ignorance.
20:36 Felons: Atatâyi, one who sets fire to the house of, administers poison to, falls upon with a sword on, steals the wealth, land and wife of, another person. Duryodhana did all these to the Pândava brothers. According to the Artha Shâstras, no sin is incurred by killing an Atatâyin, even if he be thoroughly versed in Vedânta. But Arjuna seems to argue, "True, there may not be incurred the particular sin of slaying one's own kith and kin by killing the sons of Dhritarâshtra inasmuch as they are Atatâyins, but then the general sin of killing is sure to take hold of us, for Dharma Shâstra which is more authoritative than Artha Shâstra enjoins non-killing."
23:42 Verily, confusion of family is the hell of destroyers of family. (For then do) their own ancestors fall, deprived &c. This refers to the well-known Srâddha ceremony of the Hindus, the main principle of which consists in sending helpful thoughts to the dead relations, as well as to all the occupants of Pitri-loka (a temporary abode, immediately after death) accompanied with (to make the thoughts more forcible) concrete offerings. The poor are also fed to secure their good wishes.

Bhagavad Gita | Satsang #17



Notes from Bhagwad Geeta (Chapter 13)


 The Bhagwad Gita in Chapter 13 talks about ‘shaucham,’ cleanliness, as one of the values to be cultivated if a person wants to evolve. It refers to both internal and external cleanliness.

Internal cleanliness means ensuring that our perceptions, opinions and decisions are not an outcome of our distorted view of things, but based on realities. This may sound easy, but in practice requires us to be rigorous in examining the validity of our ideas and thoughts, ensuring that we look at situations in their entirety, without getting carried away with our partial or erroneous perceptions and opinions -- which, in turn, lead to misguided actions.

Outside or external cleanliness is more tangible and is reflected by the extent to which we keep our surroundings -- our room, home, neighborhood and nation -- clean.

I regularly walk on Carmichael Road, a posh neighborhood in Mumbai. Every day i notice that BMC workers strive to keep the road clean as it houses a number of wealthy VIPs and top bureaucrats.

In spite of their commendable effort, to my distress, I regularly see dogs defecate both on the road as well as on sidewalks, as dog owners send their pets for a walk and the walkers do not bother cleaning up behind them. What is more disturbing is that the remains attract flies, mosquitoes and make the road smelly and unpleasant.

These are often the very people who complain and blame the government for not doing its job. We convince ourselves that the system is not efficient and is corrupt. However, we fail to see that an unclean road is the outcome of a dereliction of duty on our part rather than inefficient BMC workers. I asked myself, is it not part of inner ‘shaucham’ for us to accept our role in a problem rather than constantly blaming others for it? If we are to evolve as human beings, we need to invest time and effort to see the real picture beyond our immediate perception, address our distorted conclusions and act more responsibly.

I thought to myself that one of the reasons for people being oblivious to their role in creating a mess on the roads could be that they never walk on these roads as they travel in the comfort of air-conditioned cars that zoom past. However, ignorance is certainly not bliss. The Gita reminds us that we live in an interconnected and interdependent world. The complex web of things are organised in a way that our actions not only affect others but eventually come back to ourselves. Last summer, many across the city suffered from dengue. The residents of this road were also not spared in spite of their well-insulated, air-conditioned homes and cars.

I am convinced that nobody can escape the consequences of actions. There are seemingly imperceptible connections between our actions and their consequences. I believe that we have a choice -- either to continue to violate the value of both inner and outer ‘shaucham’ or to be more responsible.

The Gita reminds us that ignoring such values comes with its own cost that is detrimental to everyone’s well-being. We should aim to follow enlightened self-interest. This is just one issue, but the idea of ‘shaucham’ can apply to every perception, decision and action we perform in our lives.
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