Saturday, 26 November 2011

My Perspective on the Bhagavad Gita

The perspective taken in this discussion on the Bhagavad Gita is that it is universal and belongs to all humankind. The Bhagavad Gita is one of the central teachings of Sanathan Dharma, today often called Hinduism. It has its setting in Indian history, culture and religion of a particular era and with ongoing influences of Indian religious history. While not ignoring these, I see its meaning as being evolutionary beyond the borders of its country of origin. Its applicability has since gone beyond the era in which it was conceived to modern times and has traveled outside of India around the world and through time and place, it has been incorporated into different cultures.  My Guru, Swami Devananda, brought it with him to the west and taught it in a modern context to western students. That is the context within which I studied it and applied it.  I came to India and have become acquainted with some of the historical, cultural and religious contexts out of which the text developed but I still apply it to my modern life, otherwise it would remain only an intellectual interest.

My Gurudev was extremely simple in his teachings and constantly emphasized the Gita`s applicability to one's immediate circumstances.  For him the Bhagavad Gita was a timeless, universal devotional text that looked beyond all differences and which was understandable and easily practiced by the simplest, most uneducated person.  Myself, having had an interest in the intersection of psychology and spirituality, and finding in all religious works, a common inheritance for all humanity, am constantly turning to it to apply it to modern life and to try understanding how it relates to wisdom teachings of all the world's religions.

May Mother Saraswati bless my buddhi, my eyes, my ears, my tongue, my pen and help me to say something of value to the world in bringing the relevance of Bhagavad Gita for contemporary problems to light. May the Mother of all knowledge, wisdom, teaching, and the arts manifest in people throughout the world God`s love, creativity, beauty and energy of light. May these manifest and pervade the world, the minds, hearts and hands of its people.

May the hands of all people be raised in praise and worship and employed in work as worship and healing.  May we all be blessed and bless each other by serving one another with compassion, caring, kindness, love, sympathetic joy, empathy and authenticity so that we may transform and heal our world.

I touch the feet of my Guru for having introduced me to this holy text and having taught me, by his example and his shelter, what it means to serve.  I ask for the guidance of Lord Krishna, that whatever is to be conveyed or done through myself, as an instrument, be blessed and empowered by His grace.

 At the Holy Feet of God and Guru!

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