“Song of God” is one of the most-loved works of Indian literature. This poem, written in dialogue form, is part of the great Hindu epic the Mahabharata. Countless people of all faiths have found in it wisdom and inspiration.
The blog consists of a series of exchanges between Prince Arjuna and his charioteer, Krishna, who is the avatar, or earthly embodiment, of the god Vishnu. Arjuna is about to begin a great and just battle when he notices many friends, relatives, and former teachers in the opposing army. He hesitates, wondering whether even righteous victory and a great kingdom should be sought at such a price. Krishna reminds him that as a Kshatriya, a member of the warrior caste, he has a duty to be strong, brave, and responsible. Selfless performance of one’s duties is the glue that keeps society stable and well ordered. It is also, Krishna tells him, a way of serving God and attaining liberation from worldly burdens.
“Krishna goes on to describe three paths (yogas) to enlightenment and freedom. One, jnana yoga, is the way of knowledge, which pursues liberation through mystical understanding of absolute Reality (Brahman). The second, bhakti yoga, is the way of loving devotion to God. The third, karma yoga, is the way of action or selfless duty fulfillment without attachment or worries about the fruits of one’s deeds. Krishna reminds Arjuna that even though performing our duties may seem trivial or pointless in the grand scheme of things, it is a way of worshiping God and working off and avoiding bad karma.
One measure of the popularity of the Bhagavad Gita is the large number of commentaries that have been written on it by major Indian thinkers, including Shankara, Ramanuja, Sri Aurobindo, and Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan.
Gandhi said of it, ”When doubts haunt me, when disappointments stare me in the face, and I see not one ray of hope on the horizon, I turn to Bhagavad Gita and find a verse to comfort me; and that i immediately begin to smile within the midst of overwhelming sorrow. Those who meditate on the Gita will derive fresh joy and new meanings from it a day .”