The Advent of Srimad Bhagavad-gita; Gita Jayanti is the day when something significant had happened. It was this day when Lord Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, had instructed the Bhagavad Gita to His dear friend and disciple, Arjuna at the beginning of the epic war, Mahabharata at Kurukshetra.
On this day, more than five thousand years ago, an infamous battle that would be remembered for many millennials took place on the sacred land of Kurukshetra. In this battlefield, two parties the Pandavas and the Kauravas had assembled opposite to each other, expertly arranged in complex military formations with different types of weapons. Just before this great war had commenced, Arjuna had asked Lord Krsna about his true duty, whether he should fight or not fight. This is because on the other side Arjuna saw the person who first taught him how to properly use weapons. On another side, he saw his teacher who taught him the secrets of many celestial weapons, while in front of him he saw his grandfather, cousins and dear friends. Seeing all his loved ones, Arjuna fell into a state of great apprehension and confusion. He started trembling all over, dropped his great bow and fell into a helpless state. His situation is described in his own words through the Bhagavad Gita As It Is, which states:
prcchami tvam dharma-sammudha-cetah
yac chreyah syan niscitam bruhi tan me
sisyas te ‘ham sadhi mam tvam prapannam
“Now I am confused about my duty and have lost all composure because of weakness. In this condition I am asking You to tell me clearly what is best for me. Now I am Your disciple, and a soul surrendered unto You. Please instruct me.” – Bhagavad Gita As It Is, 2.7
This situation of confusion and perplexity will imminently happen to all of us at some point. If it had happened to Arjuna, the greatest warrior existing at that time, then there is an even bigger chance that this can happen to us. Thus Lord Krsna spoke Bhagvad Gita to guide the conditioned soul on the path of spiritual advancement. The main principle of the “Srimad Bhagavad-gita as it is” is to develop God consciousness. It explains topics connected to our spiritual life as well as material life such as the nature of consciousness, the self and the universe. The Bhagavad Gita is a living book which helps living entities by giving practical solutions to the problems and doubts in one’s spiritual as well as material life. It is also often referred to as the “Handbook for humanity”. Because it is meant for any one inquiring about his reason for existence. It provides the concise conclusion of the millions of verses in all the Vedic scriptures. In just eighteen chapters containing seven hundred verses, Sri Krsna answers all questions about the duty of the living entity. The first six chapters primarily discuss Karma yoga, liberation by performing prescribed activities. The last six chapters primarily talk about Jnana yoga, liberation by worshipping the Lord through one’s intelligence. In the middle between these two “protective” covers, like a pearl in the oyster, six chapters, Lord Krsna reveals the most confidential of all knowledge, Bhakti yoga, the path of pure, unalloyed devotional service. He declares this to be the highest, the easiest and the fastest path to Him.
Sri Krsna reveals this most confidential knowledge to Arjuna because Arjuna is not envious and He is a friend. Arjuna was one of the key warriors representing justice and righteousness. One must read and understand the Bhagavad Gita in the mood of accepting the position of Krsna as God. Sri Krsna also stresses the importance of disciplic succession and spiritual master in receiving spiritual knowledge. It is quite common for knowledge to be received by asking questions. Most of our Vedic literature, such as the Srimad Bhagavatam and the various Puranas have appeared as a result of questioning. This same chain of questioning can be seen in the Bhagavad Gita. In the Bhagavad Gita As It Is, Lord Krsna personally emphasises on how important it is to ask questions. There, He says:
tad viddhi pranipatena
upadeksyanti te jnanam
“Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth.” – Bhagavad Gita As It Is – 4.34
Thankfully for us, our questions can now be answered by reading the Bhagavad Gita As It Is. Mahatma Gandhi, an Indian Politician during the early 1900s once showered praise on “Bhagavad Gita As It Is” for answering his questions when he needed answers the most, “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 I immediately begin to smile in the midst of overwhelming sorrow.”
Every day, whether it is in school, in the workplace or in one’s own life’s adventures, we need some sort of reason to drive ourselves forward. Lord Krsna provides us in the Bhagavad Gita with the best way for a person to do his duty without becoming bonded by these activities – something that is very important in the material world. Lord Krsna says:
tasmāt sarveṣu kāleṣu
mām anusmara yudhya ca
mām evaiṣyasy asaṁśayaḥ
“Therefore, Arjuna, you should always think of Me in the form of Kṛṣṇa and at the same time carry out your prescribed duty of fighting. With your activities dedicated to Me and your mind and intelligence fixed on Me, you will attain Me without doubt.” – Bhagavad Gita As It Is – 8.7
For a person to attract great success, all one has to do is simply remember Lord Krsna, chant Hare Krsna and everything will be taken care of. Therefore, by the mercy of many of our previous acharyas, we have been very fortunate to receive this priceless wisdom through the treasure ‘Bhagavad Gita As It Is’. During this most auspicious day of Gita Jayanti, the appearance of this revolutionary scripture from the Lord Himself, what would be better than to read and hear the nectar of the Bhagavad Gita As It Is, and make our own lives perfect.
Devotees remember the blessed event by reciting Bhagavad Gita, performing Bhagavad Gita ahuti of each verse or selected chapters into the sacred fire, and discussing the subject matter of Bhagavad Gita in the association of devotees followed by a sumptuous feast prasadam. Distribution of Bhagavad Gitas’ on this day is a very auspicious activity to perform. By the mercy of Srila Prabhupada Bhagavad-gita has been translated to numerous languages and is read by millions of people around the world. So on this auspicious day we can also distribute this mercy by giving Bhagvad Gita to the people and sponsoring Bhagavad-gita and various small books for distribution.
If we don’t distribute Srila Prabhupad books then people won’t get the chance to become Krsna conscious. And Prabhupada explained that because there is a risk in preaching, Krsna considers the preacher to be His dearmost servant and guarantees that in the end the preacher will come back home, back to Godhead.
ya idam paramam guhyam
bhaktim mayi param krtva
mam evaisyaty asamsayah
“For one who explains this supreme secret to the devotees, pure devotional service is guaranteed, and at the end he will come back to Me.” (Bhagavad Gita 18.68)
na ca tasman manusyesu
kascin me priya-krttamah
bhavita na ca me tasmad
anyah priyataro bhuvi
“There is no servant in this world more dear to Me than he, nor will there ever be one more dear.” (Bhagavad Gita 18.69)
Srila Prabhupad ki Jaya!
Srimad Bhagvad Gita Jayanti ki Jaya!