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Offline JR

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« on: February 24, 2007, 12:23:44 AM »
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  • Shrimadbhagawadgeeta

                    The Bhagawad-Geeta, or Geeta, as it is commonly known, forms a very important part of the philosophy propounded in our great Indian epic, the Mahabharata. The most important event in the Mahabharata is the war between the Kauravas and the Pandawas. The beginning of this war is described in minute details in the Bhishma-Parva of Mahabharata, as this Parva (canto) is known after Bhishma, the first Commander-in-Chief of the Kauravas.

               Bharat has all along been a country of monsoon rains. It rains here in deluges for four months from June to September every year. This heavy rainfall causes floods everywhere. In these days the rivers swell to such an extent that it is hardly possible to cross them. In the absence of permanent good bridges across these rivers, the movement of big armies was impossible in the monsoon days. Hence we find that up to the Seventeenth century all major wars were fought in this country in other seasons than the monsoon. In the Mahabharata days also the war must have therefore been waged after the monsoon days. The Bhagawad Geeta which was told to Arjuna on the first day of the war is traditionally believed to have been told on the 11th day of the bright half of the month of Margasheersha and this time synchronizes properly with the post monsoon days described above. The Geeta Jayanti, like the Jayanties of all gods, is observed on the aforesaid day of every year. This year it synchronized with the X’mas day viz 25th December, 1974.

    From the first canto of the Geeta, we come to know that the armies of the Kauravas and Pandawas were arranged properly for a War. The leaders of the troops were blowing their conches and at that moment Arjuna requested Shri Krishna to drive his chariot to the place in between the two armies. When Arjuna saw that the army against which he had to fight consisted of so many of his relatives, distant and near, and that his own army ,of course comprised only of his near relatives, he visualized that a major war between these two armies means nothing else but the end of all his relatives. The very idea of this bloodshed totally upset the warrior and throwing his bow and arrows on the ground Arjuna told Lord Krishna that he did not want to have a blood red throne. On seeing this condition of Arjuna, we are told that Shri Krishna told the Bhagawad Geeta to him, whereby he said that his doubts were all cleared and that he would now fight to the finish. Now here a layman tumbles upon a practical difficulty. When he counts the total number of Shlokas in the Bhagawad Geeta, he finds that they are in all seven hundred in number. Now, when the two armies were on the point of attacking each other, where could Arjuna and Krishna have that much peace of mind and time to ask questions and counter questions and give detailed replies to the questions of an inquisitive and learned disciple like Arjuna. But after all, the Mahabharata is an epic and we believe that the Lord Krishna had supernatural powers. We find that later on in the same war when Jayadratha was to be disposed of, he actually shut off the light of the Sun for the time being and all therefore felt that the day had ended. Arjuna who thought that he had failed to fulfill his vow of killing Jayadratha before the end of the day was getting ready to sacrifice himself in the fire and at that time Lord Krishna took back his Sudharshana (fiery disc) and told Arjuna that the day had not ended and hence he could fight and kill Jayadratha, who was accordingly beheaded by Arjuna. Similarly, Lord Krishna, by his Maya, though it has not been described in so many words in the Mahabharata, might have kept both the armies spell-bound up to the time he satisfied his disciple and devotee and convinced him by showing the Vishwaroop (Omnipotent,omnipresent,omniscient, transcendental form of God).

               The philosophy of the Bhagawad-Geeta has attracted the attention of all great personalities of philosophical bent of mind all over the world. The philosophy though composed in simple Sanskrit verses is so pregnant with meaning that from times immemorial Pundits have thought it worthwhile to write commentaries on it explaining the philosophy in simple words, which would be understood by the common people. Apart from the commentaries on this book in Sanskrit, there are a number of commentaries in all the Modern Indian Languages. The commentaries on Bhagawad-Geeta in Marathi are literally countless. Every Marathi author, who had a little power of writing, has tried his hand in commenting on this book. Even though a number of commentaries in the verse form have been printed and are available, still new poets and authots are even now getting inspiration to add to these commentaries. Some commentaries are still awaiting publication. Out of all these commentaries, the two most widely known are the Dnyaneshwari or Bhavartha-Deepika by saint Dnyaneshwar and The Bhagawad Geeta Rahasya by late Lokmanya Tilak. Dnyaneshwari is in verse form and because of this lapse of so many years since its composition, the language of the book has now become obscure to the modern generation and it almost impossible to understand the philosophy completely without further commentary. The commentary by Lokmanya Tilak is in prose;but this book also has a history behind it. It was written by Lokmanya Tilak; while he was in imprisonment in Mandaley; but Lokmanya Tilak had attained a ripe age at that time. His thoughts were quite mature and it is as if he was explaining the theory of his own life, of Karmayoga that he practiced throughout his life, by making Arjuna only a means to explain his philosophy of life. The commentary of Dnyaneshwar has a literary and poetic touch while the commentary of Lokmanya Tilak, though in prose reflects fully his comparative study of the Western and Eastern philosophies.

                       While considering about one standard book as a gospel, it is said that the Christians point out only towards the Bible,  the Mohammedans towards the Quran while the Hindus have no such one book which they can point out as embodying philosophy of their religion. The people say that there are the Vedas, the Upanishats, the Smrities, the Shruties, the Epics and so many other books which according to the view point of the author have explained the principles of the Hindu religion; but what can be said in this behalf is that there has been only one prophet in the Christian and Mohammedan religions, while the Hindu religion happened to have many more. It is not a matter of shame to have many more learned men who thought about religion and who thought of explaining about it to the common people. The Hindu religion may not thus be able to claim the BhagawadGeeta as the only book which can be called the gospel; still it contains the philosophy propounded in the Upanishata and other religious books in a nutshell and it has therefore been aptly described,in a figurative manner, as the milk of the cow in the form of the Upanishats as follows :-

    “Sarvopanishado gavo dogdha gopalnandan”.

            It is because of this philosophical background of the BhagawadGeeta that many of our national leaders of modern days like Dr.Annie Besant, Mahatma Gandhi and Vinobaji Bhave have been attracted by it.They have unequivocally admitted and openly said that this book has given them inspiration and guidance. As already stated above the interpretation of the BhagawadGeeta done by the late Lokmanya Tilak was one of Karmayog, of doing the work as one’s own duty without expecting for the fruit. This interpretation of the Bhagawad Geeta appears to have appealed even to the revolutionaries, who once terrorized India and many of whom embraced the gallows with a smile on their face and the BhagawadGeeta in their hands.

                     Shri Sai Baba was a man of few words. He never claimed to have an army of disciples. He never held big meetings of thousands of devotees where he would give sermons on religious matters or on philosophy or devotion; but from his occasional talks as reported in the Sai Satcharitra it appears that he was well conversant with all religious books in Sanskrit and Marathi which embody the philosophy of the Hindu religion. In chapters number 39 and 50 of the Sai Satcharitra, a detailed discussion between Nanasaheb Chandorkar, a devotee of Shri Baba, who was a good student of Vedanta and who prided himself on his knowledge and Shri Sai Baba is reported by the author. On going through those chapters we find that Shri Baba had given a thought to the propriety of words used in the Bhagadwadgeeta. He appeared to have even thought about the use of alternative words for thw words already used in that book. His discussion with Nanasaheb Chandorkar about Shloka no 34 from the 4th canto of the Bhagadwadgeeta is in no way less interesting than the discussion that take place between learned Pundits and Shastries where the knowledge and their power of thinking is clearly seen.

                    Apart from this knowledge of the Bhagawadgeeta we see that the teachings of the Bhagadwadgeta were being practiced by Shri Sai Baba in his daily life. “Anasakti” or non-attachment to this worldly life is the main principle preached in all our religious and philosophical books. Shri Sai Baba appears to have mastered this principle to the last letter of the word. He had no belongings in this world. He never stored anything and subsisted on begging. He had, therefore, no worry that property would be stolen or destroyed. He had also no worry about the next day. The other principles of “Karmayog” and “Bhaktayog” also seem to have been mastered by Shri Sai Baba. He lived in this world not for himself. He lived for the well-being and the good of his devotees. His only worry was the peace and tranquility of  his devotees with no ultimate gain for himself. This way of life has been described in great detail in his commentary of the BhagawadGeeta, by the late Lokmanya Tilak and we find that Shri Sai Baba was observing it in his life like the Rishies and Sages.

                    In the twelfth canto of the BhagawadGeeta Lord Krishna has explained the “Bhakti Yoga”. After explaining “Sankhya Yoga”,”Karma Yoga”,”Dnyana Yoga” in the earlier chapters of the Geeta the Lord explains the “Bhakti Yoga “ in the twelfth chapter. While explaining this yoga of Bhakti (devotion) the Lord makes it amply clear that the other Yogas explained to Arjuna by him may be found to be difficult to practice and in that case he may resort to this simple yoga which is within the reach of everybody and which does not require any paraphernalia or any previous preparation. Shri Sai Baba never called himself to be the god; but he always called “Allah Malik” and called himself to be a servant of the God. He also preached among his devotees nothing else but implicit faith and devotion to himself, which was the simplest form of worship a devotee could adopt easily.

                      It will thus be seen that the Geeta, as aptly described is the cream of the Hindu philosophy in a nutshell. It is no doubt in Sanskrit in original and adequate knowedge of Sanskrit would give a reader the full and perfect knowledge of its teachings; but as stated before, there are ample commentaries available on it in all the modern Indian languages and with their help any inquisitive and devout reader will be able to follow the philosophy and teachings of this world famous book which has inspired thousands of people in this world irrespective of caste and creed. To the Sai devoteed this book is of particular importance because the teachings embodied therein were already assimilated by Shri Sai Baba and he was also preaching these principles among his devotees. Every year we are celebrating the birthdays of so many gods throughout the year; but they should not be observed only as a casual ritual to be practiced annually. We as Sai devotees should give a thought to the underlying idea behind all these celebrations and hence while observing the BhagawadGeeta Jayanti, we should also think about the philosophy and teachings of this book and try to practice them in our daily life.
    सबका मालिक एक - Sabka Malik Ek

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