Having been raised in a Jain family, I wasn’t exposed to the Bhagavad Gita during my growing up years. Of course, I had heard of it, perhaps read a few portions of the same – but never really took an interest in it.
I heard about the Bhagavad Gita from my friends. And just before Shradh in 2006, a family friend recommended that I read it. “The blessings go straight to your ancestors,” he said.
So I started reading the text and much to my surprise, found it to be a delightful experience. The simple text, the feeling of reading the beautiful thoughts of Lord Krishna left my hair standing on end.
And I found it quite addictive. I ended up carrying a pocket-sized Gita in my bag – wherever I went. Waiting for a bus, in college, en route to dance class and yes, even coffee at Barista. Somehow I always carried the text with me.
I found little influences of the Gita slipping into my daily life. Like the focus on the action and not the result. This was especially useful during the long hours of study – the rambling of my mind towards the portions to complete, how much my friends had completed, the exam date, the number of days left…those few words from the Bhagavad Gita left me sane.
The indestructible quality of the soul – imperishable by fire, by water – as expounded in chapter 2 kept me stronger when faced with the unexpected death of near ones.
The glory and magnanimity of Lord Krishna as described in chapter 11 left me wide-eyed at the realization of a Higher Power. The Brilliance of a thousand rising suns, mightier than the Himalayas, purer than the Ganges – the sheer poetry of the lines satisfied the writer in me while the beauty of the thoughts left me wondering at the power of the mind behind the words.
When faced with unexpected situations of unpleasantness, exasperation and despair – I was reminded of the karma as expounded in the Bhagavad Gita. For nobody can give you that which is not yours. Often I find myself feeling stumped – wondering why someone behaves in a certain manner, why a particular situation happened. Yet when I remember the play of karma – I feel a sense of peace, feel calmer and decide to wait some more before acting on frustrated thoughts of anger and hurt. The need to be vindictive, quit or hurt someone quells and again, I decide to wait some more. And be patient.
These are common life situations – occurring almost everyday, isn’t it?
A conflict at home, tension in the office, meeting the many demands and wondering, where is the real me in all this? Yet as you wait amidst the angry vehicles at a red signal, waiting to make the final run home; or purse your lips instead of retorting to a rude comment; while you wait for someone to gear up and see another perspective and wait patiently for yourself – don’t behave like this, it’s not you.
What makes these situations different is a perspective and that is what the Bhagavad Gita offers. A slowly growing Archimedes moment of realization until you find yourself doing something mundane and realize but I read somewhere…and can trace the source to the Gita.
I personally find the Bhagavad Gita neither religious nor preachy. It’s a guide, if you wish. A simple truth that is expounded in a universal language of love, forgiveness; a call to experience a Higher Thinking that all of us are capable of. The Bhagavd Gita is a beautiful gift to yourself. Only if you allow yourself to experience it.
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By Resha Desai Patel