Top 10 Life Lessons from the Bhagavad Gita
Although a component of the scriptural trinity of Sanatan Dharma, contents of Bhagavad Gita are universal and non-sectarian. The literal meaning of ‘Bhagavad Gita’ is ‘Song of God’. Written in the form of a poem, Bhagavad Gita presents the principles of seemingly complex metaphysical science in the simplest form possible. For millennia, it has inspired millions of saints, leaders, scientists, philosophers and ordinary people worldwide. Listed below are the top 10 lessons from the Bhagavad Gita.
10. The body is temporary – soul is permanent:
Lord Krishna in Bhagavad Gita compares the human body to a piece of cloth. A person should identify not with the body but the real Self within. One should not grieve for growing old or having a disease that cannot be cured. Just as worn out clothes are replaced by the new ones, the soul of a person acquires a new body. Identification with the Self instead of the body helps a seeker to be detached from the limitations of the human body.
9. Anger causes delusion – be calm:
It is due to anger that a person becomes deluded. As soon as the delusion takes over, his mind loses the power of discrimination. Subsequently, the reasoning capabilities of a person are lost. A person, who cannot reason justly, is destined to be doomed. Thus, anger is the fundamental cause of all sorts of failures in a person’s life. It is one of the three main gates of hell, other two being greed and lust. One must try to sidetrack anger while keeping the mind at peace.
8. Be temperate in everything – avoid extremities in life:
In Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna says that a person is bound to fail in meditation if he does not strike a balance in his day to day activities. Eating too much or too less, for example, is not going to bring you any closer to God. Meditation can help a person overcome all sorrows but he must eat and sleep well, work daily and find time to enjoy recreational activities, too.
7. Wisdom becomes inaccessible due to selfish attitude – open up:
Just as a mirror covered by dust does not reflect images of objects, wisdom, too, gets obscured by selfish attitude. A selfish person cannot perceive the truth as it is when tackling relationship issues in day to day life due to his nature. Whether a person wishes to gain material wealth, succeed in a profession or acquire spiritual wisdom, giving up personal agendas is absolutely necessary to wade through doubts and disappointments.
6. The Supreme Being is always with you – always:
Mere acceptance of this sublime truth can transform the life of a person. It is the Supreme Being which acts through every living being. Releasing oneself from worries and all other negative emotions is easy by surrendering oneself to the almighty. Since a human being is only an instrument in the hands of God, regretting the past or fearing the future is pointless. The natural harmony of mind and soul is restored by recognizing the Omnipresent.
5. Do not abstain from ‘action’ – it doesn’t help:
Running away from duties is not the way forward. Spiritual wisdom or eternal peace cannot be acquired by forsaking friends or family members. In fact, it is not even possible to refrain from activity while living in the materialistic world. It is therefore advisable to fulfill all duties with utmost dedication. Renouncing various physical actions without subduing the constantly wandering mind is useless.
4. Equanimity in Actions – be free from the expectation of the outcome:
Most people end up doing a lot less than they’re capable of in their lives. It happens mostly due to the reason that they are either sedated by pleasure or pain. Every act of theirs stems from a wish to get rewards. If Steve Jobs, for example, did not just enjoy ‘working on unique designs and intuitive user experience’, he would have been far less successful. When a person is unaffected by potential success or failure, he is more likely to pour in all his energies in even small day to day actions.
3. Overcome desires – experience the stillness of mind:
All thoughts, feelings and desires take birth in the mind. Looking deep within one’s own self is not possible without first stabilizing the mind. The mind can be really quite only when a person is free from the countless desires. Just as we can look at the bottom of the ocean only when there are no ripples on the surface, the secrets of mind, heart and soul can only be known when there are no desires on the surface. Stillness of mind can open doors to wisdom, peace and tranquility for anyone.
2. Do not doubt:
Doubts in the self or an ‘absolute truth’ is the main reason why billions lead unhappy lives on the planet. According to Bhagavad Gita, a doubtful man cannot be at peace in this world or the next. It is important not to confuse this lesson with inquisitiveness which is an absolute necessity for a person to discover his own self. However, the habit of rejecting a philosophy, belief or truth told by a learned man is not productive at all.
1. Fear not:
What is the greatest fear of humans? Death, we all know it. Lord Krishna tells his friend and devotee Arjuna not to fear death at all. Death is merely a transitional phase. Death can only come to something which is not permanent; that which is real can never die. Whether a person is an ordinary citizen, a soldier or a leader, he must not fear of losing his life, position or wealth. Relationships, wealth and all other worldly objects are just temporary; they are tools to climb the ladder and realize the Self someday. It isn’t hard to guess how beautiful life would be if there is no fear at all.