The Gita Way

by: Shweta Chandra, Santosh Srivastava

Product Details

ISBN:9789380914879
Price:Rs. 250, $ 2.99
Language:English
Pub Date:April 2016
Format:Paperback, eBook
Pages:192
Edition:1
Subject:Religion & Spirituality, General
BISAC:REL032030, REL062000
Imprint:GENERAL PRESS

'The Gita Way' is an irreligious take on the tenets of the Bhagavad Gita. Without delving into either mythological or God-centric discourse, the book attempts to understand and explain various insights from the Gita through, in the author's words, derived theory and application. 'The Gita Way' attempts to shed light on matters of self-realisation, and identifying and following the path to achieve the purpose of life.


Within the framework of Vedic philosophy represented by Gita, this book explores:

• How to discover the swa-bhava, the inherent natural strength of our real-self?
• Is my profession aligned with my swa-bhava? What is my purpose of life?
• What is the real meaning of moksha, the liberation? How the realization of individual purpose leads us to attain supreme purpose we are born to achieve.
• How yoga of knowledge, karma and devotion is applied to realise self, stay on the path of the goal and attain the real purpose?


Unlike other books on Bhagavad Gita, 'The Gita Way' is not a chapter wise discourse. Instead it presents deduced concepts in first place supported with relevant reference from the whole Gita. For example, in the first chapter of this book, you may get a reference of last chapter of Gita relevant to the topic of discussion.


Few thought provoking quotes from the book:


"Whether we are believers or non-believers, one thing is evident: that we exist. There is no disparity in the intensity of our existence, no matter who we are. I exist, and the significance of my existence is second to none."


"Lack of knowledge is ignorance which creates fear."


"All of us have one thing common in our respective goals: to reach the peak in whatever profession we choose. The difference is in the clarity of the goal, whether it is known or yet to be known, whether it is in dreams or in action."


"Even a failure can point you in the right direction to re-approach your goal, but this is possible only if you accept failure with a stable mind."


"The consciousness of self, with self-respect, drives a larger purpose. The consciousness of self, with an inflated ego, creates an illusion in the purpose of life."


"Wealth is the reward of having achieved a goal; it is not the goal in itself. Even if we follow the path that is travelled by the person who has acquired wealth, we end up following his goals rather than our own."


"The state of indecisiveness comes when our knowledge and intellect fail to differentiate between two choices."


"There is no limit to knowledge. If we have a real quest, the whole universe is too small to explore in a lifetime. The yoga of knowledge is making knowledge work for us."


"Each one of us has something unique in us. All we need is to identify that."


"The path to realising the purpose of life becomes visible only after knowing the nuances of natural strengths, which give unconditional enthusiasm. We like working on them with incessant power. They unlock concealed energy inside us and give a positive push to travel an extra mile."


"The foundation of devotion is the conviction in a purpose. Without conviction, the mind keeps evaluating options, keeping devotion at a distance. Devotion is the state of single-mindedness and is at its best form when applied to a single goal."


"Devotion for knowledge gives focus and devotion for karma gives perseverance. Both, focus and perseverance are states of mind and essential elements for any accomplishment."


"Joy comes from small things on the path to achieving the big purpose. This could be in the form of an accomplishment, an idea, love, a relationship, or even professional success."


"Inaction is a symptom of wastage of time, which is akin to wasting life, since we do not know how much time we have."

Shweta Chandra, 34, a post graduate in organic chemistry, is a self-employed consultant. After working with Birla Shloka Edutech, she left the promising career in corporate world to prioritise family goals. With an inclination to learn human behaviour, she call it human science, she discovered writing on it as her full time hobby. Besides writing she is a passionate cook and a travel buff who loves travelling to places known for its heritage and cuisine.


Santosh Srivastava, 38, an MBA from S P Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai, is a marketing professional, currently heading marketing services in H & R Johnson (India) based out of Mumbai. He found himself fascinated about science of spirituality from early childhood. Along with maintaining consistent focus on professional priorities, he actively writes on various topics ranging from management to spiritualism through his blog www.santoshsrivastava.com. Besides writing, he enjoys playing chess and cricket.

Preface

 

1. INTRODUCTION TO ‘THE GITA WAY’ 11

Development of ‘The Gita Way’ 17

 

2. DEVELOPING A SENSE OF PURPOSE IN LIFE 25

Goal 28

Finding Unique Strength and Developing It 32

Joy of the Self-Hobby vs Profession 35

How to Set a Goal? 39

Doubt in any form is the Biggest Enemy

to Self-realisation 45

The Story of Barbarika: Why was Barbarika Sacrificed? 47

 

3. YOGA OF KNOWLEDGE 51

Knowledge of Self 54

Elements of Self 56

Consciousness of Self-Identity 57

Intellect 60

Primordial Matter 62

Source of Perception and Action,

        One Mind and Five Senses 63

Physical Body and Fitness 63

False Goals such as Desire, Aversion and Pleasure 64

Required Qualities in Self 64

How Does One Achieve ‘Absolute Knowledge’? 67

Lack of Knowledge is Ignorance which creates Fear 71

 

4. KARMA YOGA 74

Prescribed Act and Prohibited Act 76

Yoga and the Attributes of a Yogi 79

How does One Achieve Equipoise? 80

Desire-Entrap 84

Hierarchy of Control 86

Theory of Prarabdha or Destiny 88

Butterfly Effect 90

Hurdles in the Path of Karma-Yoga 93

Vikarma 95

Law of Growth 96

Ultimate Dispassion: Nishkam Karma 97

How to stay on the Path of Karma-Yoga? 99

 

5. COMBINED DISCIPLINE OF KNOWLEDGE AND KARMA 101

Self-Realisation 102

Wisdom 104

Sacrifice 108

Centring and Power of Real-Self 112

Power of Real-self 113

Centring 116

Yoga of Self-Control 119

 

6. YOGA OF DEVOTION 121

    The Cycle of Liberation 123

How does devotion come to us? 127

Devotion to Tame the Mind 129

Relevance of Devotion to the Theory of Prarabdha 130

Symptoms of Lack of Devotion 134

 

7. VISION OF THE UNIVERSAL FORM 136

Universal Form of Goal 140

Concept of Self 147

Redirecting the Purpose of Desire 150

 

8. CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT ON THREE MODES OF NATURE 152

Inner Purification by Knowing Sattva, Rajas and Tamas 159

Sattva 159

Rajas 161

Tamas 164

The Gita Way of Continuous Improvement 165

Elimination of Waste 166

 

9. YOGA OF LIBERATION 170

How is Sattva linked with the Supreme Goal? 173

How does one attain sattva? 174

Non-violence in thoughts and Action. 175

Absence of Pride 175

Internal and External Purity 176

Steadfastness of Mind 176

Control of Body, Mind and Senses 176

Sincerity 177

Forbearance 177

Uprightness of Speech and Mind 177

Devout Service to the Preceptor 177

        Austerity of Mind 178

Sattvika Intellect 178

Sattvika Sacrifice 179

Leadership by Creating Order Around 180

     Yoga of Liberation 182

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Preface

I am playing with moist sand and trying to make a home,

The shores are wet and the waves are near,

When I try to save home I waste time,

When I try to save time, I need time,

The sun reminds me to pack up,

With a success or without,

Because, a home of sand is not to live,

Finished or unfinished,

I have to leave,

What is the loss or what is the gain,

It is fun only if it's a game.

 

Can the journey of life be a fun throughout? Am I wasting time making a castle of sand?

The Gita Way tries to discover the secret recipe of knowing our real self and achieving supreme purpose of life.

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Chapter 1

Introduction to ‘The Gita Way’

 

The Gita Way is an attempt to present unconventional interpretations, derived theories and their applications based on the tenets of Bhagavad Gita. Without delving into either mythological or God-centric discourse, the book attempts to shed light on matters of self-realisation, and identifying and following the path to the individual and universal purpose of life.

There are two ways we interpret Bhagavad Gita; one, as per its role in framework of the great war of Mahabharata, the other, its importance in communicating Vedic philosophies. Let’s understand these context briefly to outline the premise of the Gita Way.

The origin of the great war of Mahabharata reside in dispute between Pandavas and Kauravas. Pandavas wanted a logical solution to their fair share of Hastinapur, while Kauravas led by Duryodhana denied even an inch of the land. Both claimed that they are the real and logical successor of the kingdom. Trapped in egoistic and pseudo self-esteem, Duryodhana defied Pandavas to fight him for the crown. History reveals that war never solves a problem. Still Pandavas, led by Yudhishthira, the eldest of the five sons of Kunti, accepted the challenge. Pandavas knew that uprooting one of the biggest, established and trained army would never be easy. They had to rely on certain strengths, they were gifted with. One of the strengths was the guidance from Krishna, Pandavas cousin and a war coach and strategist. They had power of prince Bhīma too in their side. But their reliance to war outcome was centred on Arjuna, the greatest proclaimed archer of that era. For Pandavas it was a war for their rights, for Krishna it was a war for ultimate dharma, the universal goal of righteousness. Krishna, although vowed not to directly fight as a warrior from either side, he chose to mentor Pandavas. He decided to guide Arjuna just being his charioteer. Both the goals of Pandavas and Krishna were largely dependent on Arjuna, one of the greatest warrior of the side. What would happen if the key member of Pandava’s camp gives up just before start of the battle?

Arjuna, just before the war, while looking at the armies of both sides comprise of his own friends and relatives, filled with elements of austerity, gave up his desire to fight. He questioned his own purpose of winning such a war in which whoever wins, ultimately he will be a loser. Thinking what he would do with the winning the crown without his own friends and relatives alive there to cheer and appreciate, he gave up his Gandiva and declared his withdrawal from the war. Krishna, symbolizing ultimate knowledge, senses the conflict within Arjuna, the conflict of a lost soul seeking a direction and a worrier seeking his purpose. 

That was the origin of Bhagavad Gita, the divine conversation between Krishna and Arjuna. Krishna mentors Arjuna as friend and charioteer, counselling him in his quest to realise his supreme purpose. In the process, Arjuna realizes his goal as a warrior fighting a righteous war, and vows to fight. In Gita, Krishna also reveals the ultimate knowledge, and establishes the recipe to discover and realize the supreme purpose of humankind. The popularity of Krishna already made him a personality comparable with heavenly powers. That is why we call it divine song, the scripts as said by God, the Lord Krishna himself.

The Bhagavad Gita is a guide to realise one’s supreme goal of liberation through insights on dharma, supreme knowledge, holy duty, and devotion. People such as Mahatma Gandhi and Vivekananda have mentioned the Gita as an eventual source of wisdom and self-realisation. Mahatma Gandhi writes, “The object of Gita appears to me to be that of showing the most excellent way to attain self-realisation.” Gandhi also acknowledged the Gita as his primary source of inspiration. He once said, “When doubts haunt me, when disappointments stare me in the face, and I see not one ray of hope on the horizon, I turn to Bhagavad-Gita and find a verse to comfort me; and I immediately begin to smile in the midst of overwhelming sorrow. My life has been full of external tragedies and if they have not left any visible or invisible effect on me, I owe it to the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita.” Gita is a gift ancient Indian philosophies given to the world, noticeably, not only prominent Indians but also leaders in various fields across globe praise Gita for the influence it made in their lives.

The Bhagavad Gita stands for a lot more than a mere representation of Hinduism and its tenets. The insights and knowledge it provides are beyond any religious faith. It is a compilation of Vedic philosophies presented in a symbolic manner. The great war of Mahabharata is an allegory of war within ourselves. The Gita differentiates good from evil, knowledge from ignorance, and inner happiness from pleasures gained from the realisation of desires. The Bhagavad Gita is the single best source to understand the key findings of Vedas and Upanishads created in ancient time.

Scholars term the Bhagavad Gita as a ‘Smriti’ text, which means ‘that which is remembered’. The text itself is estimated to have been written around 300-400 BC, around the time of the origin of the Sanskrit language. The Bhagavad Gita is part of the great epic of Mahabharata created by sage Vyasa. It is about the great war of Mahabharata between the Pandavas and the Kauravas. The exact timing of such a war is not known, although some estimations place it before 2500 BC. There is a debate on the year or years of the scriptures’ creation. Since they were written in Sanskrit, the time of their writing can only be estimated, leaving the possibility of a gap of a minimum of a thousand years between the timing of writing these scriptures and the actual event. Scholars in ancient times might have transferred the content of these scriptures in the form of ‘songs of the divine’, using verbal storytelling passed on from one generation to the next. A gap of thousand years is significant from the perspective of historical development, as such a gap is adequate to witness a quantum change in philosophies. Hence it is fair to assume that at the time of writing of these scriptures, newer findings in Vedic philosophies during those gap years might have been included. ‘The Gita Way’ is an attempt to interpret the Bhagavad Gita in order to better understand the concepts of self-realisation and the purpose in life. Although this book is based on the tenets of the Bhagavad Gita, which is a Hindu mythological book, it is not intended as promotional material for any religious faith. We have tried to make the whole work independent of any religion in such a way that even a non-believer can find ideas in this book that resonate with their beliefs. That is why the book is called ‘The Gita Way’ and not ‘The Bhagavad Gita Way’. We have done a lot of conceptual blending to deduce various insights from the Bhagavad Gita. The book has been written in the form of derived theory and application supported by relevant text from Gita.

All of us have one thing common in our respective goals: to reach the peak in whatever profession we choose. The difference is in the clarity of the goal, whether it is known or yet to be known, whether it is in dreams or in action. Our personalities, thinking and circumstances are different. The environment and profession are different too. Our behaviour, reaction to adverse situations, and decision-making patterns are also different. With such a variety of person