Atom Bomb to Zoo of the Bhagavad Gita: Part 2

By S Swaminathan

This is Part 2 of a two part series on the A to Z of the Bhagavad Gita.

N for Nirvana 

Nirvana is an interesting term used both by the Buddhists and the Hindus with different interpretations. Gita uses this term several times (chapters 2-72,5-24,25,26 and 6-15). In Gita it means complete union with God. Brahma nirvana means the mystic state of extinction of self in the union with God. Literal translation of nirvana is blow out ,extinguish.

Osho on Gita 

Osho’s(Acharya Rajneesh) interpretation of the Gita stands out for many qualities. He creates a multifaceted analysis of Gita, drawing from all sources—philosophy, scriptures, biographies and his own experience. The shlokas of the Gita are often abstract, mysterious and sometimes downright contradictory. In such cases the listener will definitely appreciate Osho’s deep and precise insight in explaining why Krishna said it this way. He has the skill of explaining apparently impossible slokas in layman’s terms, using simple analogies.

P for Paramahamsa Yogananda 

Elucidating on the Gita’s primary metaphor of inner battle, Sri Yogananda writes, “From the moment of conception to the surrender of the last breath, man has to fight in each incarnation innumerable battles: biological, hereditary, bacteriological, physiological, climatic, social, ethical, political, sociological, psychological, metaphysical- so many varieties of inner and outer conflicts. Competing for victory in every encounter are the forces of good and evil. The whole intent of Gita is to align man’s efforts on the side of dharma or righteousness. The ultimate aim is self realisation.

Q for Queen of Greece 

What should be leader doing in regard to customs, usages, etc.? Even after he finds them to be not of any benefit for himself, should he follow them? Asked Queen of Greece, who was a devotee of Ramana Maharishi and Kanchi Sri Chandrasekarendra Saraswathy (1884-1994).

Kanchi Sankaracharya’s answer on 4/12/1966: Those who are the leaders of a group, society, or state should not neglect the established religious customs and usages. In the words of Bhagavad-Gita: “The wise one should not unsettle the minds of those who are ignorant, and are attached to action. On the contrary, he should encourage them to perform what they should perform, by himself doing the appropriate actions well and with diligence.”

R for Ramakrishna Paramahamsa 

The essential message of the Gita can be obtained by repeating the word several times, “‘Gita, Gita, Gita’, you begin, but then find yourself saying ‘ta-Gi, ta-Gi, ta-Gi’. The message is Thyaga/sacrifice –Thyagi means one who has renounced everything for God”, says Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

Question : The Gita seems to emphasise karma yoga, for Arjuna is persuaded to fight. Sri Krishna himself set the example by an active life of great exploits.
Ramana Maharshi : The Gita starts by saying that you are not the body and that you are not therefore the karta [the doer].

S for Sivananda 

Study of the Gita must be made compulsory in all schools and colleges of India; nay of the whole world. It must become a text book for students of schools and colleges-Swami Sivananda wrote it on 4thJuly ,1942

T for Thoreau 

“In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagavad Gita, in comparison with which our modern world and it’s literature seems puny and trivial “- Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) American poet and philosopher

U for Upanishads 

The Gita is a boquet composed of beautiful flowers of spiritual truths collected from the Upanishads- Swami Vivekananda

V for Vivekananda 

According to Swami Vivekananda the most important shloka in the Gita is the 3rd in the 2ndChapter. He says, “If one reads this one shloka –klaibyam mas ma gama: …… one gets all the merits of reading the entire Gita: for in this one shloka lies embedded the whole message of the Gita. The meaning of the verse is “Yield not to impotence, O Arjuna, son of Pritha. It does not befit thee. Cast of this mean weakness of the heart. Stand up, O scorcher of the foes.”

W for Water 

Hindus offer to God anything from hair to gold in different temples. Lord Krishna says he is happy with even an offering of little water. Chapter 9 verse 26: “If one offers me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit or WATER, I will accept it.” Lord Krishna has a scale where devotion gets more value than the actual value of the goods!

X for X number of commentaries 

Gita has 700 commentaries when Sita pati das (Joshua J Wulf) wrote a commentary several years ago. Now we have x number of commentaries on it. Even the Tamil atheists have written a commentary interpreting the shlokas with negative connotation.

Y for Yama & Yoga 

Adi Shankara in Bhaja Govindam (hymn 20) says: To one who has studied the Bhagavad Gita even a little, who has sipped at least a drop of Ganges water, who has worshipped at least once Lord Murari

Gita deals with three Yogas:karama/action,Bhakti/devotion,Jnana/wisdom

Zoo and Gita: 

Lord Krishna uses a lot of animal names in his dialogue with Arjuna. If we have to set up a Bhagavad Gita zoo to teach Krishna’s philosophy , we need the following animals:

Elephant, eagle, horse, shark, snake, cow, lion (Chapter 10) and dog, cow and elephant (5-18)

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