Top 10 Misconceptions About the Bhagavad Gita

The holy text of the revered Bhavagad Gita has been the Hindus pride for ages now and still continues to be. But, with the advent of more scientific reasoning, many have developed illusions and misconceptions about its concepts and essence. They don’t shy in crying out their obnoxious doubts against the sanctity of the book. Surprisingly, countries like Russia even decided to ban the book, claiming it to be extremist. Maybe they’re bad with language or maybe finding meaning in the words of the holy text is not in the ambit of the common fellows. Whatever, the reason, most of them have been accusing the Gita of the following felony:

10. Gita and its blunt value judgments:

Many people who have simply browsed through the verses of Gita without understanding its meaning, have condemned it for its strong value judgments in using words like mudha (fool) and naradhama (lowest among human beings). Readers take these words for condemnation, when in reality they’re used for compassion. These words come from the basic intention for good for all elements in the world, only stated as your beloveds would reprimand you for things to make your realize your mistakes, not mock.

Gita and its blunt value judgments - Top 10 Misconceptions About the Bhagavad Gita

9. Gita only for the intellectual:

Animals do not have an intellect, it’s a privilege enjoyed by only the humans. This means that no matter what the IQ of a person is, every human will have a certain level of intellect enough to grasp the concepts of Gita without misinterpreting them. In fact a higher IQ could only mean that you have too much ego to accept the truth stated in the Gita, contrary to not understanding its essence. Gita is a simple message of love, and anyone reading it from the heart will be able to understand it to the core.

Gita only for the intellectual - Top 10 Misconceptions About the Bhagavad Gita

8. The central message of Gita is unclear:

Gita is centered on the two concepts of Tvam i.e. you and Isvara i.e. Godhead. These concepts can be a bit confusing, because they tell you things that seem contradictory to the reality. For example, people say they are a doctor, a lawyer, a writer, son of so and so, and things similar to this when they introduce themselves. But, according to Gita, this is not who you are. All these are only your individual attributes, which are based in the mind and the body, while you means the free you, free from any kind of worldly bondage.

Message in a Bottle Washed Ashore - Top 10 Misconceptions About the Bhagavad Gita

7. Gita has little applicability in the recent times:

The youngsters especially believe that Gita is ancient, and therefore holds no relevance in their lives, completely forgetting that the basics of the humans haven’t changed since times immemorial. The sun still shines the same way, despite being the most ancient, and similarly, the Gita is not just a story book from the past. We’ve become so mesmerized by the material things around us that we’ve started neglecting the universal eternal truth that remains just the same.

Gita has little applicability in the recent times - Top 10 Misconceptions About the Bhagavad Gita

6. Gita advocates fight against irreligious people:

Many believe that Lord Krishna prompts Arjuna to wage violence against the irreligious people of the world, who are considered to be the enemy of all mankind. People of different faiths around the world have questioned this premise several times. They propose that if Lord Krishna is the God, shouldn’t he have attempted to win the hearts and minds of the irreligious people of world, instead of waging a war. But, these very people must realize that the same Bhagavad Gita inspired Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence, and made him the epitome of peace.

Gita advocates fight against irreligious people - Top 10 Misconceptions About the Bhagavad Gita

5. Gita is caste conscious:

A few verses in chapter 18 of the Gita, indicate that Krishna was an advocate of the caste system in the Hinduism. When he tells Arjuna that he’s a Kshatriya (warrior) and that it’s his duty to fight, did imply caste bias, but only in a religious sense. For example, the book divided people into four castes, Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vysya, and Sudra. Caste is the product of the roles we play. If you’re a thinker and a righteous decision maker, you become a Brahmin, if you have the fighter spirit; you’re the Kshatriya, and so on. These roles can even be inter-shifting throughout your life.

Gita is caste conscious - Top 10 Misconceptions About the Bhagavad Gita

4. The vision of God as a destroyer:

In the 11th chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, the universal form of God is described as emitting blazing flames of destruction. Sure this makes God appear rather ghastly and brutal, but the truth is that death and destruction too are an inevitable part of living. Further reading the chapter, Arjuna seeks to see the two handed form of Krishna. The destruction of the world takes Arjuna to the beauty of Krishna, similarly death and destruction beset the world to lead us to the beautiful eternity.

The vision of God as a destroyer - Top 10 Misconceptions About the Bhagavad Gita

3. Bhagavad Gita calling for violence:

The battle field setting of the Bhagvad Gita, which is used for demonstrating transcendence, responsibility and practicality, is many times mistaken for calling for violence. Many had in the past believed that spirituality lies in some outer world, other than ours, but in reality it lies right here in real life settings. At the time of Bhagvad Gita, battlefields were the reality and so choosing it for the backdrop would only illustrate its universal application in all respects and not the direct connotation of violence.

Bhagavad Gita calling for violence - Top 10 Misconceptions About the Bhagavad Gita

2. Gita accused of being extremist:

Recently, Russia levied charges against Gita for promoting religious extremism. According to the Russian critiques, the book incited racial, religious and social intolerance. All this was due to the misinterpretation of the concepts of Bhagavad Gita. The text essentially is about spreading the message of love and not for fostering gender bias, racism, social discord or any other negative social evil.

Gita accused of being extremist - Top 10 Misconceptions About the Bhagavad Gita

1. Gita is only a matter of belief:

Many people believe that Gita is a text for the believers and not something one can understand and get value from. If you’re to be a true student to the Gita, it is essential that one validates the words of the text, by contemplation and reflection. Gita removes our illusions about life, and that can only be done with knowledge, and knowledge is not purely a belief, but based in reasoning and understanding.

Gita is only a matter of belief - Top 10 Misconceptions About the Bhagavad Gita

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