The Spiritual Significance of the Srimad Bhagavad Gita today
How is the story of arjuna relevant to the common man today ? Pujya Ma has dealt abundantly with this subject in the first chapter of this book, which She always describes as extremely important.
- This scripture acquaints the struggling aspirant of spirituality with the arena of his spiritual endeavour. Just as Arjuna observes the battlefield and readies himself for war, the spiritual seeker must objectively observe the path he should take. He must pre-view his aides, enemies and his own positive and negative tendencies.
- He must become aware of the power of the negative forces, most predominantly his attachment, and gain the strength to tear asunder this bondage to facilitate his progress on the spiritual path. The spectre of a fearsome battle between Truth and its allies, the humane and divine attributes, and the untruth with its allies, the inhuman and demonical tendencies, looms ahead. The aspirant who seeks to embark on his sadhana – spiritual practice – must perceive both these within himself with absolute clarity and integrity, thus reducing his chances of an internal trauma such as Arjuna faced when he cried out to Lord Krishna, “My Gandiva (bow) is dropping from my hands ! My skin is burning and my mind is reeling ! I can stand no more !”
- Just as Arjuna was attached to his ‘good name’, his virtuous demeanour and what he considered to be his lofty knowledge, a spiritual aspirant must realize that these are the very considerations which weakedn his resolve and prove to be a formidable obstacle. The fear of disgrace and pretentions of superiority are critical adversaries for the pilgrim of the spirit.
- The seekers’ endeavour to escape from such a precarious situation is reflected in Arjuna’s plea to Lord Krishna, “Even if the avarice of the opposing forces prevents them from seeing any sin in the destruction of their kith and kin, should we, who see the innate vice in such destruction, not consider distancing ourselves from this painful, albeit righteous, war?” Thus the spiritual aspirant takes recourse to ‘illegitimate’ knowledge in order to escape treading the righteous path which is often fraught with the pain of distancing oneself from one’s attachments.
The echoes of the mental thought processes of that era can be heard even today. We have only to look within ourselves to find:
- Dhritrashtra, blinded by his attachement for his son;
- Bhishma Pitamah, the ‘protector’ of the kingdom, giving in to his own false justifications and priorities, thus supporting the forces of tyranny and destruction.
- King Drupad and Dronocharya, inherently inimical and filled with hatred, yet supposedly fighting a war of righteousness.
It is in such a scenario that the Lord finds Himself in the role of Divine Mentor to an escapist Arjuna ! So also is the present day seeker of Truth – ready to escape the unpleasant, especially when kith and kin are involved ! All principles are forsaken, and the spiritual aspirant becomes prepared to renounce the very Truth that he has upheld all his life. Today we see the moral bankruptcy of leaders because noble and truth loving souls have become escapists !
Thus stood Arjuna on the battlefield, hands trembling and unable to hold his weapon, the Gandiva, breaking out in a sweat and incapable of seeing which way his duty lay. It was his good fortune that he was guided by the Lord Himself, Who, through His Love, His diplomacy and His strategy, bade Arjuna to lift up his mighty bow and fight the wicked and the tyrannical. He began by conferring upon Arjuna the knowledge of the Atma, the all pervading Self, and showed him the insignificance of the human being in the infinite spectrum of Eternity and of the Universe. He urged Arjuna not to be a coward and gave him courage to fight for Dharma or the principles of righteousness.
Thus the concluding Shloka of the Gita proclaims that where there is the Supreme Truth, symbolized by Lord Krishna, and where He is accompanied by Arjuna, the wielder of the GAndiva, there shall inevitably be Shri – fame, Vijay – victory, and Vibhuti – divinity manifest. Wherever the spiritual aspirant is prepared for battle against his own negative tendencies and is supported by Truth Itself, he is bound to meet with victory.
—– Maj. Gen. Brij Nath Bhandari, in “Srimad Bhagavad Gita – A Guide to Daily Living”, translated from Pujya Ma’s Original Hindi Manuscript, published by Arpana Publications, Karnal, Haryana, India, year 2000