Gita is a conversation between Krishna and Arjuna in the middle of the great war - the
Mahabharta. In the larger epic of the same name , Krishna is the multifaceted incarnation of the God - as a king, a diplomat , a messenger and a friend and the one who stands up to the evil . Among all these and many others, his role as the driver of Arjuna's chariot is the one that is contextually (and probably otherwise), the most fascinating . This role is symbolic of one who is leading you on a righteous path; particularly when you are stuck into dilemmas.
Gita targets a timeless, universal problem - the cyclic nature of our life. That is what makes it ever relevant.
The birth and death are cyclic , so are the day and night. In observable universe, everything grows and then diminishes. Greater the rise, bigger the fall. Every success finally meets it's failure. This is as true in business as in our emotional lives. Happiness and pain is a never ending cycle. Planets, stars and even black holes can't escape this truth.
Krishna says ..
Jatsya hi druvo mritur, dhruvam janm mritasya cha
All things born in truth must die, and out of the death in truth comes life.
Krishna, in said conversation, lays out an elaborate method to help us stay afloat in the waves of joy and grief associated with the rise and the fall respectively. A method that was unheard till he said it and remains unique to date. This message of
Karm Yoga is both - rational and practical. It doesn't warrant a leap of faith. Not only does it offer the exit from the cycles -
Nirvana, it also makes the follower feel "blessed and blissed " that obviously translates into worldly success. Thus
Karm Yoga is a useful guide rail to navigate modern life.
It is hard to label Gita as spiritual or scientific. It offers experiential method that is as testable as science. At the same time it warrants dedication, commitment and rigor which is common to any "problem solving" apparatus. A new reader might see the later as a "call for faith".
The best approach is to treat it beyond labels. Walk the line and determine yourself if it works. If it does, take on to the next iteration.
There are umpteen numbers of scholarly texts written on Gita and they go to a great length in differentiating
Karm Yoga from devotional services
Bhakti Yoga , and quest for the knowledge
Nyana Yoga. Krishna says both of them lead you to the same conclusion. However, keen readers often get lost in the triangulation. It gets hard to ascertain if I am a
Bhakti Yogi or a
Nyana Yogi. They end up missing out the core message . Which obviously means they skip on the experiential part of
Karma and Yajna. Without putting the ethos to work, it turns out to be yet another book read for talking points.
With the advent of printing press and the online tools, Gita got translated in almost all the languages - written and spoken; yet the style of delivery is same old. It works well for religiously oriented populace but Gita is needed most with in the younger circles who tend to be skeptical of dogma. The younger generation is adept at consuming large info sets from subjects as complex as Artificial Intelligence to Gnome Project , as long as the document format complies to a reference based help instead of a dictatorial sermon.
This work is to approach Gita as technical documentation for a complex multi-faceted app - The Reality.
At the time of its writing, it was probably a good idea to package Gita as part of scriptures, using fiction as the conduit. A lot has changed since then. Today, technical literature is equally palatable - if not more. Which is kind of sweet spot for Gita. It is not to say, Gita is in bad company when it is in religious hegemony. It is just to add that a much broader channel is needed for such a scholarly piece of work to reach new mindset.
It simply means "Arjuna Said" . Think of it as Arjuna explaining what he understood. A loop back mechanism to ensure intact delivery of communication and also its intent. And also using his own language, his metaphors and his analogies.
My goal is to say it in the most accessible way. My hope is, in the process, I will be able to boil it down to a modern document that is beyond blind faith and is logically appealing. At the same time I do want to quarantine numerous
Yogas into their boundaries and stay put on the core message.
There are four parts of this book.
- Getting Started - is where I want to modernize the age old concepts of Gita. The goal is to develop a common Vocabulary and solid grip on the core message.
- Conciousness - is where I try to build the larger construct of our reality. Who we are. How the whole thing works. Again based on the concepts of Gita but using modern metaphors.
- Triangulation - is the ways and means to figure out where we stand in the maze of matrix and conscious agent and what is the righteous path forward.
- Test - is the way to test the ethos of Gita. The goal is to develop a scientific approach to testing rather than asking for a leap of faith. As we know Gita is experiential. In addition to being a separate chapter in itself, I have tried to add sections on "test" inline with other chapters to supplement the ideas and the flow.
Just like any other scientific faculty, it is difficult to watertight these four sections. You may find yourself hopping from one chapter to other because the knowledge is always integrated. My recommendation is to follow the flow with patience.
As you will find in the reading, a book is only information ; it is a way to organize the knowledge in a template. We can get the template but we need to fill it up with our imagination. No matter how descriptive an information artifact , there is always room to read between the lines. I feel knowledge lives in that unwritten space. Thus, my request to not hold your imagination. With each section, try to fill the gaps with your experiences, your perception of reality and hopefully, it will align.
The work here is not mere reflections of what I read, it, in fact comes from the me putting the ethos in practice to whatever little I could. I don't claim
Nirvana but I vouch I have seen the tip of iceberg. Peace and happiness were alien to me. I was a wandering soul ever so lost in "what next" and consuming my way to bloat. Gita has helped me focus, remove the unnecessary baggage and fine tune my life. And it remains a work in progress though I see a light at the end ...