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While the Bhagavad Gita is widely regarded as the most sacred Book of the Hindus, not many understand its teachings, advice and implications in life.
Most people know that Lord Krishna (Lord Vishnu) ‘delivered’ the Gita to Arjuna at the Battle of Kurukshetra explaining why means also justify the end (‘Dharma’ or Righteousness is always the victor) and that ‘All is fair in war.’
Recent screening of India’s great epic ‘Mahabharata’ (culminating in the Batlle of Kurukshetra) in various television channels in various Indian langauges has kindled the interest of the youth on the Bhagavad Gita.
Residents in Wellington, Upper Hutt, Lower Hutt and other areas would have a better insight into the teachings of the Great Hindu Book as the Wellington Indian Association organises a six-week course from May 19, 2016 at its ‘Gita Mandir’ located at 48 Kemp Street, Kilbirnie.
The weekly course will be held in English from 7 pm to 830 pm on Thursdays, will conclude with Mahaprasad.
Further details can be obtained from Hema on 021-2963606.
Facebook Access: Wellington Indian Association.
The Bhagavad Gita is a 700-verse Hindu scripture in Sanskrit, a part of the Hindu epic Mahabharata (Chapters 25 to 42 of the Sixth Book of Mahabharata).
The Gita is set in a narrative framework of a dialogue between Pandava Prince Arjuna and his Guide and Charioteer Lord Krishna.
Facing the duty as a warrior to fight the Dharma Yudh or Righteous War between Pandavas and Kauravas, Arjuna is counselled by Lord Krishna to “fulfill his Kshatriya (warrior) duty and establish Dharma.”
Inserted in this appeal to Kshatriya Dharma (chivalry) is a dialogue between diverging attitudes concerning the methods of attaining liberation (Moksha). The Bhagavad Gita was exposed to the world through Sanjay, who senses and cognizes all the events of the battlefield. Sanjay was Kaurava King Dhritarashtra’s advisor and charioteer.
The Bhagavad Gita presents a synthesis of the concept of Dharma, theistic bhakti, the yogic ideals of Moksha through Jnana, Bhakti, Karma and Raja Yoga (mentioned in the Sixth Chapter) and Samkhya philosophy.
Numerous commentaries have been written on the Gita with widely differing views on the essentials. Vedanta commentators read varying relations between Self and Brahman in the text: Advaita Vedanta sees the non-dualism of Atman (soul) and Brahman as its essence, whereas Bhedabheda and Vishishtadvaita see Atman and Brahman as both different and non-different, and Dvaita sees them as different.
The Bhagavad Gita’s call for selfless action inspired many leaders of the Indian Independence Movement including Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Gandhi referred to the Gita as his ‘Spiritual Dictionary.’
Due to its presence in Mahabharata, the Bhagavad Gita is classified as a Smriti text or ‘that which is remembered.’
The Smriti texts of the years between 200 BCE-100 CE belong to the emerging ‘Hindu Synthesis,’ proclaiming the authority of the Vedas while integrating various Indian traditions and religions. Acceptance of the Vedas became a central criterion for defining Hinduism over and against the heterodoxies, which rejected the Vedas.
The ‘Hindu Synthesis’ emerged during the early Classical period (200 BCE-300 CE) of Hinduism. According to Columbian Professor of Religion, History and Human Sciences Alf Hiltebeitel, a period of consolidation in the development of Hinduism took place between the time of the late Vedic Upanishad (ca 500 BCE) and the period of the rise of the Guptas (ca 320–467 CE) which he calls ‘Hindu Synthesis,’ ‘Brahmanic Synthesis,’ or ‘Orthodox Synthesis.’
It developed in interaction with other religions and peoples.
The emerging self-definitions of Hinduism were forged in the context of continuous interaction with heterodox religions (Buddhists, Jains, Ajivikas) throughout this period, and with foreign people (Yavanas, or Greeks; Sakas, or Scythians; Pahlavas, or Parthians; and Kusanas, or Kushans) from the third phase on (between the Mauryan Empire and the rise of the Guptas).
The Bhagavad Gita is the sealing achievement of this Hindu Synthesis, incorporating various religious traditions.
|What: Bhagavad Gita in EnglishWho: Wellington Indian Association
Where: Gita Mandir, 48 Kempt Street, Kilbirnie
When: Six Weeks from May 19
Thursdays at 7 pm
Contact: Hema on 021-2963606
- Lord Krishna educates Arjuna on life at the Battle of Kurukshetra
- The Bhagavad Gita in Book form