Action, action, action

Bhagavad Gita - 19

Do your duty. The rest will be taken care of.

We are still in the last chapter of the Gita. As a book, there are 18 chapters in the Gita. In this last chapter, Krishna not only clarifies a few things but also repeats the ideas he had spoken earlier. Soon after his reference to the four-fold caste system, Krishna briefly touches upon, karma yoga, bhakti yoga, raja yoga and the jnana yoga methods.

In these dialogues, he is insistent on one thing: Continue to do action. Do what you are supposed to do. But do not worry or bother about the results.

Krishna says that Arjuna has been well advised on all aspects of life. Arjuna should consider all that and act. Even then if Arjuna refuses, Krishna says that he will make Arjuna fight, whence Arjuna will have no control over himself. His talks take a truly reassuring tone, though at times warning Arjuna that if he refuses to fight the war, the consequences will be destructive.

Krishna gives the strongest reassurance here and the effect is simply brilliant with the simplicity of his words:

“Focusing your mind on me, devoted to me, you worship me. You will reach me. I promise you that. You are dear to me.”

Krishna goes a step further and makes a dramatic reassurance. These words are taken by some philosophers to be the essence of all he has spoken and the ultimate way for conduct of life:

“Leaving aside all the dharma (methods, practices, ways, actions, beliefs, faith, etc.), surrender to me alone. I will release you from all sins. Do not worry.”

This simple message forms the basis of the saranaagati-tattwa.

Soon after this slokaa, the drama heads towards a conclusion. Krishna assumes a casual attitude and speaks a few sentences.

He advises not to speak these concepts to those who are without tapas (penance, disciplined conduct), devotion and unwilling to serve. He says these should not be spoken to those who abuse Krishna (non-believers).

The words reflect a free and non-compelling disposition. There is no insistence and there are no curses to those who do not want to listen or heed to these concepts. The universal nature of Hindu philosophy is brought by his words.

He reassures further:

“Those who speak this and those who listen to this with devotion are all dear to me. Whoever learns these talks filled with dharma (righteousness), he is deemed to have worshipped me.

“Such an enthusiastic, respectful listener will be freed and he shall reach the abodes of great men.

“Have you heard these carefully, O Partha? Has your deluding ignorance been destroyed?”

Arjuna apparently is fully convinced. He says that his delusion is destroyed and all doubts are cleared. He says with firmness that he will do as Krishna tells him.

The Gita ends with words spoken by Sanjaya, who has been describing the events in the battlefield to Dhritharashtra.

He says: “I have heard these wonderful conversations between Vasudeva and Partha which were exhilarating. With the blessings of Vyasa, I was able to listen to these great philosophies from Krishna himself.

“O King! I rejoice again and again remembering these wonderful conversations. I am awe-filled remembering the forms of Hari.”

Sanjaya speaks the final words. This slokaa is considered by many as equivalent to reciting the whole Gita.

“Wherever there is Krishna the Yogeswara (Lord of all Yoga) and wherever there is Partha, the archer, there will be wealth, prosperity, success and justice. This is my firm policy”.

The Bhagavad Gita ends here.

These Gita talks were earlier published as ‘Gita - A reassurance from Godhead’ in ‘Nandini Voice for the Deprived’.

Final note from the author

There is no claim of any originality in these discussions. At the most, these can be called a collection of thoughts on Gita. The objective of these discussions was to initiate a thought in understanding Gita, which is hailed as the point of reference to what is known as Hinduism. In present times, most of us have neither the time nor inclination to read the Gita, leave alone understanding it. In fact, there is no need… just continue doing your duties. In earnestness, it is hoped that these short discussions could kindle one’s interest. It has come about by sheer chance that the discussions have to be presented in such a forum, in this manner.

With a perfunctory look at the Gita, we can conclude that the job was to get Arjuna fighting the war and Krishna got it done by giving all kinds of convincing arguments, cajoling statements and mesmerising visions. There are many references which are confusing to our common intelligence. There are many sections where Krishna repeats concepts and there are sections where he uses terms which are not comfortable. The repetitions have to be taken for emphasis. The unfamiliar terms, which he presumes to be known to the reader, are from the Vedas and Upanishads. It is strongly believed by scholars that Krishna has clarified many of the Vedic/Upanishadic statements in the Gita.

Given all these, a fact we have to accept is that the Gita has got some positively reassuring thoughts with respect to man’s outlook towards life. No philosophy in this world is worth its stand if it cannot give some explanation to the present existence of man. The Gita not only explains life but also gives solution for evolution and ultimate goals.

It may be argued that the Karma theory cannot be the plausible explanation for everything, but the brilliant logic in the theory can never be disputed. Antithesis to ideas in the Gita has been in existence since Charvakas, probably earlier. Therein lies the magnanimity of Hindu philosophy which permits all kind of pros and cons. Even the Gita does not limit itself to only one method. If we closely look at the methods for evolution of human spirit from various religions, we might stumble on to the fact that they are already prescribed in the Gita! But these need not convince us. That is not the point.

All of us face predicaments in life when we are thoroughly confounded. The Gita might provide a way at such situations. Leaving aside all these intellectual exercises, we cannot deny that there is an intrinsic guidance value in the Gita. The case rests.

May 17, 2010
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Rajoo Balaji

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