Bhagavad Gita is a universal dialogue. India gifts it to the entire world so that they could understand it as an interactional dialogue, an interactional philosophy and make use of it to ensure better administration in order to enhance the welfare and stability of the nations as well as the globe. I would like all of you particularly youngsters to think about our great culture and cultural narration in this light and try to have more and more exposures into it.
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Harih Om Tat Sat. Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.
India is a very old country and I would like to say that Indian civilization is perhaps the most ancient and still surviving civilization. We have some civilizations like the Egyptian and the Chinese ones. But I am inclined to think that India’s heritage, heredity, culture, legacy and legendary culture; all of them are ranking supreme. One important factor is that our cultural thoughts and findings have been very beautifully recorded in indelible print, not exactly in the modern way as we call a printing industry and printing. We used to cut across the fibers of palm leaves using a very hefty steel pen. It was not easy to write cutting across the fiber of palm leaves. That used to be the way. The original writings we don’t have but we certainly have a full modern print form of many of our scriptural writings. It is also true that many of our writings are not published at all. Some of them are remaining in the archives with several institutions and sometimes with individuals.
Our Mahabharata is five thousand one hundred and odd years old. Ramayana is far older. Valmiki who wrote Ramayana, we have nothing about him; neither a picture nor the first book or text that he wrote or the place where he lived. But somehow, we have all the 24000 Sanskrit verses which he wrote describing the life and exploits of Sri Rama, the Prince and King of Ayodhya.
We had two dynasties ruling India. One is the solar one. Sri Rama belongs to that. It starts from Ikshvāku, comes down through a number of people including Aja, Dasaratha etc. Rama was the first son of King Dasaratha. We parallelly have down, say 5000 years ago a lunar dynasty in which the Kuru lineage started ruling from Hastinapura. The decline and fall of the Hastinapura dynasty is what is recorded in Mahabharatam, a beautiful autobiographical scripture written by Vyasa Deva.
In as much as we have these scriptural texts, we cannot doubt them. It is there before us. You can read them, understand them, relate matters to them. All of them are describing, (I would like to repeat it any number of times) the characteral elegance, the behavioral majesty and the interactional excellence of our people. If you analyze anyone’s life, you will find it consists of only two facets. One is his character which is invisible and associated with his mind and intelligence and ego - The inner personality. When this character becomes expressed, it becomes behavior in his speech, in his actions, in his attitudes, facial and other expressions and the like. Further he also interacts with persons, places and events. In anyone’s life, we only have character, behavior and interaction.
How to develop the character of a person? What are the characteral qualities and when does the character reaches the acme of excellence? Similarly, what is the most effective behavior, effective at the same time amiable and acceptable to the people around? It is not enough if you speak, but you should speak in a manner that will become effective even before the one who is unwilling to hear. Whatever stand you take and whatever views and options you cherish and pursue, they should be so good, great and adorable that even the enemies would appreciate.
Then we have our interactions where everyone is tested, tried and led to success or failure. In all our scriptures particularly Ramayana and Mahabharata, the two epics of our land in which only human characters and their lives and exploits are dealt with, they are the only two epics which describe character, behavior and interactions.
In the whole of my life where for the past sixty-one years I have been moving about like a moving university visiting villages, towns, cities in India as well as abroad, talking to people in an organized manner in the form of discourses which we call ‘Jñāna Yajñās’ and for the past few years also conducting workshop programs, sometimes one day, sometimes two days workshop for managerial people particularly, I have always been speaking about the greatness and the applicational majesty of our writings, most ancient writings. I recite and quote only from the Sanskrit texts, ancient texts of the country. I never speak of any other author nor do I quote from anyone else in the world. In all these sixty-one years, I have always felt that our people particularly the intelligentsia, the intellectual community are missing a great deal by not being exposed to our epic thinking and epic excellences.
How should a man rule the society? What should be the personal and administrative routine of the ruler, the administrator? What are the safeguards he has to ensure to bring about the welfare and solidarity of the people? How should he deal with the enemies and enemy kingdoms? What are the safeguards to have a stable economic growth and advancement? Is there any place for culture and cultural elegance? What is the role and effect and contribution of personal character? When does a behavior of one become a model exemplary for the others? Can interactions be effective both with regard to friends and non-friends? All these are discussed very beautifully.
If you take our Bhagavad Gita for instance, people generally think that it is a religious scripture. I have been exposing it repeatedly not as a religious scripture. There is nothing of religion in it. It is part of Mahabharatam which is a historic narrative of the decline and fall of the Kuru dynasty as I mentioned. Veda Vyasa, the author was alive about whatever he wrote. Generally histories are written centuries after the incidents and events take place referring to descriptions made from time to time which are kept in the archives. But Mahabharatam was written by Vyasa Deva as everything that he has written was taking place, transpiring before him and he played an important part. To know it better, Vyasa Deva speaks about six generations beginning from himself! Veda Vyasa himself, then the Kauravas and Pandavas, Pandu and Dhritarashtra being born of him, then Arjuna and others, Pandu’s children, Dhritarashtra’s children, then you have Abhimanyu, then Pareekshit, then Janamejaya. All these are six generations beginning from Veda Vyasa. That is why I describe Mahabharata as an autobiographic description.
Valmiki too started it (Ramayana) as a biography but when Sita was abandoned by Rama at the door of Valmiki and Valmiki decided to look after her, Valmiki became a part of his narrative making the whole writing autobiographical as well. Can you imagine the authenticity of the writing then? It is not history, narration of things which took place or said to have taken place in the past. All that Vyasa Deva writes were taking place right before him, in front of him and in most of which he was also playing a part.
The most important part of Mahabharatam is the Mahabharata war. About 4.5 million people assembled in the battlefield of Kurukshetra. They made a charter of rules and procedures. Both parties signed them, identification marks were given to the army people and also elephants, horses and the like. When everything was ready and Bhishma blew the conch, Krishna reciprocated it, Arjuna wanted to examine the army and asked Krishna to drive the chariot affront. Krishna drove the chariot and stopped the horses right in front of Bhishma and Drona, the commanders of the opposite army. Arjuna looked at both, both the armies and found many of his kith and kin were assembled on both sides. He felt he could fight any number of enemies in any number of battles but he was not prepared to fight his own blood and other relations in a war particularly his own teacher and grandfather. He was totally in a mess, in a distress, and said throwing his bow and arrow down, “I am going to retreat. I will not fight this war”. Tell me whether this is a religious instance or not. This is a purely secular one. And Krishna said, “No, not now. You cannot take such a stand after having me blow the conch for you and everything is over, only the discharge of arrows is to take place. This is sheerly a matter of weakness, a matter of delusion, a matter of imbecility; it is not right”.
Arjuna was shocked because the words were Krishna’s whom he had a lot of proximity with, fondness for and reliance on. He had to heed what Krishna said. Immediately the crying Arjuna stopped his crying and he became introspective, reflective and then told Krishna, “Okay, I will not cry and take the position of sympathy towards the fighters. But I have some ethical and propriety questions. How can I fight against my grandfather and teacher? Even if I want, propriety demands, will my sentiments allow? So there is a deep conflict in me. I am being scorched by grief all over the body. Can you cool my body, cool my mind and make me ready to fight?” Krishna took up the challenge and started speaking to him in such a manner that every word gave him comfort, consolation, relief, assurance, stability and readiness.
Words can do magic in human life. I think the power of words is far beyond any other known and unknown powers in the world! It is energy sound and energy coming from a living human is far greater than inert energy coming from other sources. The consciousness and sentience part of the speech is what makes it great and moving. Arjuna participated in the discussion, raised pertinent questions, Krishna answering them and the dialogue extended to something like two and a half to three hours. All along, the 4.5 million army assembled in Kurukshetra remained breathless waiting for the moment the dialogue would be over and Arjuna would be ready with his bow and arrow. And it happened. Krishna asked him, “Did you hear me well? Did you also reflect upon my words and their message? What is your decision? Do as you wish and like.”. Then he said, “My delusion is gone. I have got back my right memory by your timely advice and blessings. I am ready with my bow and arrow to fight not one Mahabharata war but a dozen or score of them”.
My dear souls, this is what Bhagavad Gita is. The narration till this dialogue was war narration and the narration soon after the dialogue stopped again was war narration. And the narration itself was a war field dialogue between two warriors, two Kings to make one of them namely Arjuna get back his resolve to fight and win the war. I want this Truth to be known to the entire world. Bhagavad Gita is not a religious gospel but whenever we start discussing any subject under the Earth, it has to become spiritual and philosophical because man’s mind and intelligence and heart alone are not matter and energy. They are spiritual constituents. Naturally the discussion will also be spiritual. So spiritual elements are there but the whole conversation is a war field dialogue transpiring between two warriors and the purpose of the dialogue was to enable Arjuna to fight the eighteen-day unprecedented war and win the cause of propriety, morality, ethics and righteousness.
I think such a war is being fought in a manner even now, whether it is in Korea or Iran or may be in Palestine or any other part of the world. Even now, what is triggering all these agitations is nothing other than a turmoil in the human mind and it is one of propriety or impropriety. Shall we yield to this terrorism or shall we vanquish it? What does the world need? What is the call of propriety? What does sober human life dictate? In order to answer these questions and go forward, the power of weapons will not be adequate at all. Every weapon has to be used by the human and he is inside the body, mental, intellectual, emotional. So the present question is also a question for Bhagavad Gita to deal with. That is why I took a position - Bhagavad Gita is a universal dialogue. India gifts it to the entire world so that they could understand it as an interactional dialogue, an interactional philosophy and make use of it to ensure better administration in order to enhance the welfare and stability of the nations as well as the globe. I would like all of you particularly youngsters to think about our great culture and cultural narration in this light and try to have more and more exposures into it.
Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.