At present we find individual life miserable and social life in shambles. Problems of health, home and office make a man miserable. He finds life devoid of any charm and worth. Evils like corruption, nepotism and warrism have shaken the very foundation of society.
The message of the Bhagavadgita can change the situation. It tells us that joy consists in how magnificently we fight the battle of life. Every individual has a unique mission to fulfill. Success lies in doing our best in whatever field we are. They are misguided who fix their gaze on the outcome alone, which is governed by Divine will that rules the universe. Arjuna, who had imbibed the spirit of the Gita, had declared: 'I have made two pledges. First, I shall never feel meek and second, I shall never flee away from the battle of life." Everyone of us should feel like Arjuna. Everyone of us can lead a happy and contented life if he tries to get inspiration from the Gita, irrespective of the fact whether one believes in God or not. The present book shall convince him about this fact. To read this book implies trying to open the closed doors of eternal happiness.
Dr. R. N. Vyas is a prominent author, thinker and educationist of M.P. He is the Director of the Academy of Social Thought. He is also Professor and Head of the Department of Philosophy an Psychology in the biggest post-graduate college of Devi Ahilya University, Indore. Dr. Vyas has twenty-three published works to his credit. Titles of some of his published works are Peace, Philosophy and Progress, From Nuclear Destruction to Human Reconstruction, The Synthetic Philosophy of the Bhagavata, Bhagavata Bhakti Cult and Three Advaita Acharyas, Philosophies of Education, Education and Human Society, Creative Leadership, Melody of Bhakti and Enlightenment, From Consciousness to Super-Consciousness, Bhagavata Dharma and Culture, Philosophy of Religion. He has also published one novel and one collection of one-act plays. His forthcoming books are Spiritual Basis of Education, Indian Wisdom and International Peace, Philosophy of Human Progress, and Applications of Psychology in Physical and Spiritual Domains. In the present book, he gives a description of Art of Life according to the Gita.
The Bhagavad-Gita, the most respected work of India, is full of practical wisdom. It does not bother about arguments concerning the existence of God or soul. A tendency of arguing about everything many times distracts our attention from the real issue. The Gita avoids this mistake. Moreover, according to it the Supreme is present in the individual himself. Where then is any necessity of any arguments?
The central theme of the Gita is that man should not run away from life. Life has to be faced. Generally an individual finds life full of sorrows and disappointments, perplexities and complexities, obstructions and frustrations. But this is not the fault of life. It is the fault of one's attitude. It is not within one's hand to command the event of life, but it is within one's hands to develop a right attitude towards life. Man is so made that he has to be active all the while. In fact the very sign of life is its activeness. They are living in a fool's paradise who thinks that one can renounce the world by putting on the garb of a sanyasin. If things were so easy, at least three fourths of mankind would have become sanyasin by this time. The fact remains that even a sanyasin has to lead an active life.
The Gita has given us a formula of contentment. It recommends us to do every act with the aim of social happiness but at the same time without attaching our mind to the result of our action. It is indeed difficult to practise this formula. But it is quite possible to practise this formula. But it is quite possible to practise it if we are honest in our endeavour.
The present work tries to tries to throw to throw light on the way a happy life, free from tensions and frustration, can be led. I am sure its perusal shall inspire every reader to make his life happy and cheerful.
Indian philosophy is guided by a very practical objective, the permanent eradication of every type of pain. The allurements of ordinary superficial life that is led by an average man are nothing but a source of misery and pain. Wealth, power, position, all are subject to destruction. Hence, if one becomes too attached to them, nothing but unhappiness is the result. That is why the Buddha declared that everything of the world gives nothing but pain. Every youth and beauty decay.
The main objective of Indian philosophy has been to find out the root cause of pain and to eradicate it so that the pains of all types may be destroyed for ever. The pains have been classified in three categories, viz. physical (bodily), mental and natural calamities. There is no other science except meta-physics that tries to find out the causes of these ills and shows the path of attaining a state where these ills shall be totally absent.
If we think that the Bhagavad-Gita is a book of philosophy, we shall have to accept that it tries to indicate the way to perfect happiness.
But if we think that it is not a book of philosophy, even then its practical motive should not be hidden from any person who tries to remember the occasion and purpose of its narration. Arjuna came fully prepared to fight a battle. The Kauravas had craftily grabbed the kingdom of the Pandavas and were not prepared to return even an inch of their land. Being Kshatriyas, it was not possible for the Pandavas to tolerate this humiliation. The Kauravas had very systematically prepared for the war. They were in power and the most famous warriors of their time were in their fold. Hence, they thought that the defeat of the Pandavas was a certainty.
Circumstances had made the conflict inevitable. Arjuna therefore came to the battlefield with this clear in his mind that he had to fight the war thrust upon the Pandavas.
But a sudden change came into his mind when he saw his own close relatives arraigned against him. A sudden thought overwhelmed him that it is useless to wage a war against the very relatives for whom he would have liked to have the kingdom. Any victory obtained over them would bring only depression and degradation. Moreover, it was not sure that the conflict would bring a victory to the Pandavas. The army of the Kauravas consisted of invincible warriors like Bhishma, Drona and Karna. In fact, Duryodhana had very cleverly brought every eminent warrior of his time in his fold. Arjuna tried to think about the future after the war, too. Whoever won the battle, would secure the victory at the cost of lives of innumerable warriors. Their death would mean the death of the flower of man-kind. The remaining society would consist of incompetent people lacking in bravery and morality.
Under these circumstances, Arjuna thought that it would be much better to run always from the battlefield or to allow himself to be killed by his enemies. This would at least end the bloodshed and would not bring any calamity to society. If the world laughed at him, let it do so.
Though Arjuna thought this, however, he was not sure about the rightness of this view. He knew that Krsma's thinking was solid and therefore turned to him for right direction.
Krsna's task was to give such advice to Arjuna as would be in the larger interests of Arjuna as well as all human being who may find themselves in such a condition of perplexity.
An intelligent and honest study of the Gita can bring its readers a number of good things and boons of life. Many of our problems are due to the fact that we do not use enough intelligence to solve them. It has been estimated that every person on an average uses only 5% to 15% of his mental potential. One cannot use one's entire mental potential unless one looks inward and realizes the presence of his enormous potentiality lying dormant in his being. If a person studies the Gita with concentration for one year giving only 15 minutes every morning and 15 minutes every evening, he is bound to resurrect his hidden mental potential, resulting in the solution of many of his problems.
A student can easily better his academic record; a worker can increase his productivity; a doctor can enhance his capacity; a businessman can increase his ability; in short excellent performance in every field can be achieved with the study of the Gita.
Modern man lacks job-satisfaction. It is an evil result of modern world that man seldom finds a job he loves. He has to accept any job to fulfill his economic requirements. A close study of the Gita can give job-satisfaction to a person, because it tell him that every job has has its unique importance. Adjustment becomes possible when one realises this truth, and one begins to like one's 'svadharma' and stops running after 'para-dharma'. A person who studies the Gita can thus be successful in his job. Furthermore, such a person improves his relations with the people he works with.
The capacity of adaptability also increases tremendously. Adaptability increase life; its absence is inimical to life. Life is full of changes, jolt and, at times, upheavals. If one refuses to adapt, nothing but sorrow and mental torture shall result. Adaptability has its psychological as well as physiological aspects. Paychogical adaptability increase inner vitality and energy. This result in physiological strength. One can sleep anywhere; one can remain unperturbed before every odd situation. Socially speaking, such a person is ideal. He takes interest in social progress and experiences a feeling of love for all beings, Nay, he goes further and has love for natural surrounding- the trees, plants, flowers, all are loved by him. The ecological problems that face mankind at present shall disappear, once people start studying the Gita. Diseases life blood pressure, anxiety, fear, tension etc. shall disappear.
Modern man is dying under the pressure of 'stress'. Stress is the name of any psychological burden that causes any chemical or physical abnormality in the body. The only sensible method of avoiding is the study of the Gita. No drug can cure stress; only a right type of thinking that can be developed only through a study Gita of the Gita can be helpful to us.
A study of the Gita brings about purification of the mind and society. With the purification of mind shall come emotional stability and maturity. This will in turn lead to sound physical health. It will also bring social purification in the form of absence of crimesa and strife. It will also result in harmonious interaction with the environment and nature. A faithful study of the Gita can, thus, bring psychologial, physiogical, social and ecological growth and integration.
A person who has imbibed the teaching of the Gita can declare like Arjuna "I have taken two pledges. Neither shall I ever feel meek, for shall I flee from the battle of life" (arjunasya pratinje dve, na daiyam na palayanam). Life offers innumerable challenges, which can be met effectively only by accepting the gospel of the Gita.
The Gita is a marvellous work. Despite the many commentaries and works that are available at present to a reader, it cannot be said that the Gita has been understood in its entirety. Every sensible reader must try to study the work himself and I am sure that he shall find new light. The following verse from the Gita itself is the correct description of the Gita:
"Some look upon it as a marvel; some likewise speak of it as a marvel; some hear of it as a marvel; and even after hearing, no one whatsoever has known it"(II-29)
Now, it is for the enlighten reader to find out from his own personal experience whether this statement is correct or not.
The present work is a study of the Gita from a particular angle. I have relied on the Gita itself for whatever has been stated in this book.
I am grateful to Shri Shakti Malik for taking interest in this work and for making it available to the reader within the shortest possible time.
I also think my wife Smt. Krishna Vyas for persuading me to complete to complete the work and for giving her own critical suggestions.
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