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Bhagavad-gita Study Course

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Lesson One: Introduction to Bhagavad Gita

Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Bhagavan. He spoke Bhagavad-gita to Arjuna, who is in a direct relationship with Krishna as His friend and devotee. Only by the process of devotional service can one revive one’s relationship with Krishna. Therefore, Bhagavad-gita should be taken up in a spirit of devotion.

Everyone is full of anxiety because of the material existence. The cause of suffering and the actual destination of life are proper subjects of enquiry. Krishna answered these questions, through Bhagavad Gita, and thus relieved Arjuna from all material miseries by making him understand his constitutional position.

The following is a summary of Sri Krishna’s explanations of Absolute Truth in Bhagavad-gita:

Sri Krishna is the Supreme enjoyer, controller and friend of all. Nature (prakriti) is His energy. Jiva, the individual living entity, is part and parcel of His spiritual (internal) energy. Material nature (constituted of three qualities or modes viz., sattva, rajas, and tamas) consisting of eight elements namely earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind intelligence and false ego, is His external energy. By a combination of the three modes of material nature and under the control of time (which is another energy of Krishna) there are activities and resultant reactions. Material nature is real and eternal, whereas the manifestation of the material world (of these activities and reactions) is real but temporary.

The Supreme conscious Lord Krishna, is conscious of all the bodies, everything and every atom. Even when He appears within the material creation in any form, His consciousness is never materially affected. Jiva is only conscious of his own body. Matter is unconscious, without the presence of jiva.

Due to material pollution of the consciousness, the living entity is entangled in bodily actions and reactions which are actually carried on by the modes of material nature. This pollution can be purified by dovetailing the activities in full co-operation with the will of Krishna. These activities in pure consciousness called bhakti are transcendental to the three modes and thus the performer becomes free from actions and reactions. In this liberated stage one attains his constitutional position as servant of Sri Krishna.

All the planets within material existence have the material miseries of repeated birth, death, old age and disease. The spiritual world has no such inebrieties. Following in the footsteps of Arjuna, if we act according to Krishna’s instructions, we can attain the abode of Krishna from where we never have to return to this material world.

Our thinking, which is now absorbed in material energy, must be transferred to the spiritual energy. This is made possible by practicing to remember Sri Krishna by always chanting His names (which are spiritual, non-different from the Lord) and molding our life’s activities in such a way that we can remember Him always.

It is Krishna’s instructions that this process must be learnt by rendering service to and enquiring submissively from a self realized soul, in an unbroken disciplic succession from Krishna.

Vedic knowledge is infallible, above all doubts and mistakes. The purpose of Vedic knowledge is to know the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna. Sri Krishna reveals this knowledge through Bhagavad-gita. Therefore, Bhagavad-gita should be accepted ‘as it is’ without interpretation, deletion or addition.

Lesson Two: Bhagavad Gita Chapters 1 to 3

As the opposing armies stand poised for battle in Kuruksetra, Arjuna the mighty warrior, sees his enemies who are all his intimate relatives, teachers and friends. Overcome by grief and pity, his mind bewildering, Arjuna fails in his strength and gives up his determination to fight.

Arjuna submits himself to Lord Krishna as His disciple and Krishna begins His teachings by explaining the fundamental distinctions between the temporary material body and the eternal spiritual soul. The Lord explains the transmigration, the nature of the selfless service and the characteristics of a self-realized person.

A self-realized person is not diverted by various types of fruitive activities because he is firmly situated in self, the soul – as part and parcel of Krishna. The revival of such relationship is the highest perfectional stage of all vedic knowledge.

It is not possible to curb the forces of sense gratification by human endeavor. The senses require real engagement. By using everything in the service of the Lord one can save oneself from becoming the victim of material consciousness. Thus by the strength of Krishna consciousness one should direct his steady intelligence towards his pure identity.
Lesson Three: Bhagavad Gita Chapters 4 to 6

The principles of religion are direct orders of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, laid down in the Vedas, that push one towards complete surrender unto Him. Whenever such principles are disturbed by the demoniac the Lord appears in His own spiritual energy.

The truth about the appearance and activities of Krishna, when known can free one from the cycle of birth and death. Such knowledge should be gained by hearing from self realized soul. Material attachments make one bereft of such knowledge.

Negligence of spiritual life, fear of spiritual identity and the conception of void that arises from frustration in life are three kinds of material attachments. To become free from these material conceptions one should take shelter of the Lord, in Krishna consciousness. Krishna consciousness is gradually awakened by different types of sacrifices. All sacrifices are based on regulated actions, where the important factor is self realization.

Devotional activities to satisfy Krishna, strengthen one’s knowledge of self, and the complete knowledge of the Lord as the supreme controller and enjoyer of all sacrifices. By becoming perfect in such devotional life one attains liberation in Krishna even while performing service with the material body. Thus the culmination of all kinds of yoga practices is bhakti yoga. Hearing the transcendental names and activities of Krishna is an expert treatment for the mad mind and eating foodstuff offered to Krishna is the appropriate diet for the disease of material existence. This treatment is the process of Krishna consciousness, the real and topmost yoga system for this age.

to be continued…

source: www.indiadivine.org

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