“Live in the world but don’t be of the world. Live in the world but don’t let the world live within you. Remember it is all a beautiful dream, because everything is changing and disappearing. If you become detached you will be able to see how people are attached to trivia and how much they are suffering. And you will laugh at yourself because you were also in the same boat before”. - Osho
What is the Gita?
The dictionary meaning of the word ‘Gita’ is a song or poem containing an inspired doctrine and the word ‘Bhagavat’ means a blessed or adorable or venerable or divine One. Hence Srimad Bhagavad Gita is variously called as ‘The Song of God’, ‘The Divine Song’, ‘A Song of Fortune’, ‘The Lord’s Song’, ‘The Holy Song of God’, ‘The Song of the Lord’,Gudartha Deepika, Gita Rahasya, Jnaneshwari, Bhavaarthadipika, Sadhaka Sanjeevani and so on. The noted English poet, journalist and a Principal of the Government Sanskrit College at Pune, Sir Edwin Arnold (1832-1904) called his famous poetic version of the Bhagavad Gita as ‘The Song Celestial’. The Bhagavad Gita’s another title is ‘moksha sastra’or ‘Scripture of Liberation’. However, it is more popularly known as “The Gita”.
The Bhagavad Gita is a sacred Hindu scripture, considered among the most important texts in the history of literature and philosophy. It finds a place in the Bhishma Parva of the Mahabharata. It comprises of 18 chapters spread out in 700 verses. Its author is Veda Vyasa, the compiler of the Mahabharata who wrote this epic through the hands of the Lord of Wisdom, Sri Ganesha. Its teachings are considered timeless and the exact time of revelation of the scripture is considered of little spiritual significance. The teacher of the Bhagavad Gita is Lord Krishna, who is revered as a manifestation of God, The Bhagvan, Parabrahman.
The content of the Gita is the conversation between Lord Krishna and Arjuna taking place on the battlefield of Kurukshetra before the start of the war between the two clans of brothers - the Kauravas and the Pandavas.
Responding to Arjuna's confusion and moral dilemma about fighting his own cousins, Bhagavan Krishna explains to Arjuna his duties as a warrior and prince and elaborates on different Vedantic concepts. This has led to the Gita being described as one of the prasthana traya, the triumvirate of the canons of Hindu Philosophy, the other two being the Upanishads and the Brahma Sutras.
It is considered as a concise, practical, self-contained guide to play the game of life. During the discourse, Krishna reveals His identity as the Supreme Being (Svayam Bhagavan), blessing Arjuna with an awe-inspiring vision of His divine universal form.
The Gita itself tells us about what it is. At the end of the first chapter we find a narration reading as under:
om tat sat
iti srimad bhagavadgeetaasu upanishatsu brahma vidyaayaam yogashaastre
sri krishnaarjuna samvaade arjuna vishaada yogo naama prathamo'dyaayah||
“Thus in the Upanishads of the glorious Bhagavad Gita, the science of the Eternal, the scripture of Yoga, the dialogue between Sri Krishna and Arjuna, ends the first discourse entitled: The Yoga of the Despondency of Arjuna”