Thursday, 25 August 2016

 Happy Janamasthami!
The Relevance of the Bhagavad Gita Today

Celebrating Lord Krishna's birthday today, in addition to fasting and worship, I thought it appropriate to reflect on His teachings in the Bhagavad Gita and to post some of those reflections.
 
I feel we stand today on the edge of a great transformation. Many individuals are experiencing transformative states, while society at large is shifting and sitting on the precipice of either violence or the possibility of peaceful abundance. The deciding factors of what is to come depends entirely on what each person chooses – attitudes, beliefs, disciplines, actions, mental states, desires of the heart and on how humanity comes together collectively to shape society.   

More than ever before,  humanity is in need of wisdom. I believe the Gita offers guidance for acquiring such wisdom, especially as its message is offered on the cusp of the Kurukshetra war. The latter half of the 20th century revealed a level of violence and destructive capacity not only for human civilization but for all creatures and planetary existence itself.  Never in known history has humanity had at its disposal the atomic bomb, the earliest having been unleashed at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but since then improved and refined, not only in destructive capacity but in sophistication of delivery. Other sophisticated weaponry positioned around the globe could unleash a holocaust of unimaginable proportions. The early years of the 21st century have not been very encouraging either.  With 9-11, the Arab Spring, the current violence throughout the Middle East and the flood of refugees fleeing violence and starvation, unrest in the Baltics, tension in Ukraine, standoff with Korea, the geopolitical scene is not very reassuring.  To add to this, the threat to the planet of global warming, the rapid extinction of species, earthquakes - most recently in the Himalayan regions of India and Nepal and just yesterday in Italy, more than ever before, we need to wake up, get oriented individually to our true purpose in life and take a stand on the kind of society we wish to create collectively.

With this context in mind, how does the Gita speak to us today?