New Study Of Gita Dec 01 Dr. Shriniwas J. Kashalikar
December 1, 2009, 12:20 pm
Why did I once, dislike Gita?
Long back, when I used to be charged with physical needs,
passions, emotions, thoughts and ideas, I used to feel
agitated with the thought of similar plight of the people!
The social circumstances appeared extremely dark, stark
and annoying. The change, the revolution appeared to be
the only purpose of life, even as the exact program of
action and/or the blue print of the revolution were far from
The frenzy of all these complex feelings used to be so
much, that any proponent of Gita, used to appear as
unconcerned about peoples’ true needs, unbothered about
real issues such as poverty, injustice; and hence antisocial,
hypocrite, parasitic etc or at best; stupid or gullible!
The restlessness within; used to be so much that it used to
propel me towards addressing every problem that appeared
in the news paper or on TV, apart from those in my own
personal life. As a result, I used get engrossed in relevant
physical work, emotional expression in poetry, intellectual
analysis, discussions, public speeches, writing articles and
books etc, which appeared to be the preferred ways of self
assertion and solution to the problems! Withdrawal from
such activities was suffocating, unbearable and killing!
Gita appeared to me a despicable escapism from the
problems and the activities; which I thought were
“important and urgent”! Gita discourses appeared to make
the people facing problems; as well as the preachers;
parasitic and paranoid! It appeared to make them dependent
and helpless. It appeared to dissuade them from accepting
the challenges in personal and social life and facing them
victoriously! The fervor of my mind would never get
calmed by the thought of Gita; though many a times I
appreciated the honesty and selflessness of the individuals
Apart from this dislike, one of the common excuses that I
used to find in studying Gita was the apparent irrelevance
of the study in terms of daily livelihood. Moreover the
study seemed to hinder the day to day work and disturbed
the preoccupied mind. In fact it created a kind of tug of war
in the mind!
Now I realize that this was because of my untrained
erroneous cognition (perception), affect (feelings) and
conation (response). Thus I misconceived the dimension of
the challenges, felt tense and restless and responded rather
erratically, leading to further exaggeration of problems in
mind! This is called distress cycle. When you are in such
distressed state; you can not handle even small problems
and hence study of Gita, which starts with the problems
encompassing the cosmic, social, family and personal
dimensions simultaneously; becomes a painful affair!
It is like a state of severe indigestion, in which you are
averse to eat anything and especially heavy food stuff that
is difficult to digest!
Another reason that caused repulsion towards Gita was,
there were several tempting distractions, which seemed to
offer pleasure, solace, relief and consolation. Moreover
these distractions such as movies, TV shows, parties,
gossip and socialization of different types did not require
any active efforts on the part of your brain and heart. Study
of Gita being demanding acute attention and focused
concentration has always been an uphill task! Actually this
was the reason, when I used to find the expressions of
ecstasy and joy; by Sanjay in the last 5 verses in 18th
chapter, quite contradictory and disagreeable,!
Later in the course of reading Gita and about Gita, in books
such as the biography of Shri Brahmachaitanya
Gondavlekar Maharaj, by Prof. K.V. Belsare; and through
my experiences with a variety of activities of service and
social struggle for justice; I began to get intellectually
convinced that Gita can evolve and transform an individual
in terms of his/her perspective, vision, intellectual
framework, emotions and instincts; and evolve him/her into
objective or cosmic consciousness. I thought this; if
happens in every walk of life; then it could usher in;
individual and global blossoming, appropriate to that
period, because; it could actualize globally benevolent
perspective and policies!
Now I realize that practice of NAMASMARAN, right from
childhood, and teaching of Gita in every nursery, school,
college and even professional college, would evolve the
student of Gita, who would share the same joy and ecstasy
that Sanjay expressed in the last five verses! I don’t want to
generalize this and give any guarantee abut this, but this is
my experience! It is my experience that once Gita enters in
the system, the movies, dramas, TV shows and other
activities can be enjoyed or avoided; without getting
overwhelmed or disturbed respectively.
Gita provides the ultimate and invincible satisfaction
coupled with vigor, buoyancy, fearlessness and
benevolence encompassing universe!
Many times I used to feel disturbed by comments from
friends; apparently ridiculing Gita as very recent; only
about 1000 years old! I did not quite understand how a
book or a scripture could be judged on the basis of when it
was written! But somehow and somewhere these comments
tended to dishearten and discourage me or at least thwart
my enthusiasm in studying Gita.
Many would say that Upanishads are really enlightening
and Gita constitutes only citations from the Upanishads.
These people obviously were ignorant about Upanishads as
well as Gita, but may be because of my weakness; their
comments could often sabotage my interest, dedication,
efforts, concentration, commitment and involvement in the
There were others; who used to praise Gita (without
reading it) and boast that Gita is very old!
I could not derive any inspiration from this either; because I
could not agree to judge a book from its age! In fact one
could argue that inspite of being so old the book does not
have significant impact on the world civilization in view of
the stark global reality we witness!
Another argument that could annoy and discourage a new
student was; Gita is not written by one individual but by
many people over centuries and further; Gita could not
have been written on the battlefield at all, because no sane
person would spend time in discussion, in such a situation
of war! In fact this fact itself makes the Gita quite absurd!
Such remarks from people who have been cut off from their
roots, ancestors, history and most importantly their true
self; due to petty, individualistic ideas and fanatic beliefs,
could reduce one’s reverence for the book and hence the
enthusiasm in studying it.
Gita is studied with reverence. I also studied Gita because
of the reverence she enjoys from billions of people and for
millennia! Some people laugh at reverence and think that is
irrational! But that is wrong! Reverence is not superstition!
Reverence adds to one’s interest, commitment, focus,
motivation and involvement! Reverence for Gita makes it
easy to absorb the vital wisdom from Gita!
But after, I studied Gita inspite of such criticism and
insulting talks, for some time, I also felt there could be
some truth in the argument that Gita is written by not but
many people, in view of somewhat conflicting concepts
finding place in her!
But, Gita, whether written or sung or addressed by; a
particular person, one person, many persons, by a person in
chariot to another in the chariot on the battleground, a
person in his living room to another person, is only relevant
to those; who are academic historians or those involved in
divisive politics with some vested interests.
For me; as I kept studying (and realizing the content of
Gita); it was immaterial in view of the content of Gita and
its scope and potentials for individual and global
blossoming! It is silly for a student of Gita to dwell on such
issues and waste time, rather than dedicating to the study of
Gita so as to grasp and realize the core of Gita!
Some used to ask, “What is the basis to prove that Gita can
lead to global blossoming? Study of Gita does not seem to
do anything, if compared to for instance; scientific research
or socio-political manipulations! It does not seem to work
and produce results; even comparable to those produced by
relatively simple agricultural activities or other andicrafts!”
If I say that Gita evolves us into objective or cosmic
consciousness or imparts global perspective, then the
argument is, “Can you prove the cause and effect
The answer obviously is, “No! I can not prove that Gita
evolves us into objective or cosmic consciousness or
imparts global perspective”, because many of those who
study Gita can disprove my contention!!
Looking back; I realize that my opinions changed due to
the influence of factors beyond my comprehension
constituting the “field”, cosmic consciousness or God that
encompasses and influences not merely “me” but
everything; including the people in the universe! Whether
the people in the world would also change and begin to get
associated with Gita, also therefore be determined by the
same “field” and hence I need not feel restless about
whether people accept the importance of Gita or not! But if
I say so, then next argument would be; “What is the proof
for existence of such a field”? Obviously; I have no proof!
Another argument is; Gita has no influence on individual or
social life; studying Gita is wastage of time! One may feel
that Gita has benevolent role, because of erroneously
attributing the good changes in him or her to the study of
Gita! Actually it could be the other way round; the good
change leads him or her to admire Gita!
This argument also, can not be refuted. What can be said is
that cosmic consciousness or objective bliss is somehow
associated with Gita.
But even this can not be proved. Neither can I show that
some one is linked through Gita to cosmic consciousness;
nor can I prove that those; who are not studying Gita; are
dissociated from cosmic consciusness or objective bliss!
But having gone through the experience of all this, I am
convinced beyond doubt that Gita is a transtemporal,
transintellectual, transnational, transcultural and universally
benevolent manifestation of cosmic consciousness,
irrespective of whether, written or narrated or sung by one
person, many persons, on battleground or in a living room
& at given time or over a period of centuries! Further, I
would like to add that GITA, (& VISHNUSAHASRANAM
and NAMASMARAN) is a life time golden opportunity or
golden gate to cosmic consciousness provided by the
cosmic consciousness Himself!
Even so, the study of Gita and the experience associated
with it; are essentially personal and beyond linguistic
communication, beyond a certain point! One may or may
not believe in them; and may or may not provisionally
accept, study, experiment out and decide; their validity or
No one; including me; should feel that he/she can, (because
no one can); oblige them; by studying or harm them by
insulting! No one can elate them by praising and sadden
them by maligning! Hence it said, in verse in 6th chapter,
which implies that those who would study and realize the
immortal cosmic consciousness would actually get the
same in reciprocation (from the cosmic consciousness)!
It appears however, that it is time that a vast majority of the
world; would get freedom from the shackling conflicts
generated from fulfillment or otherwise; of their physical
needs, instincts, feelings, arguments, flights of
imaginations, infatuations and restlessness; and get the
privilege of being associated with the essence of Gita,
NAMASMARAN, Vishnusahasranam, objective bliss,
cosmic consciousness, globally beneficial perspective and
policies and their implementation; irrespective of the nature
of cause and effect relationship (which also incidentally; is
a product of human intellectual framework!)!
In 4th chapter the importance of SHRADDHA is stressed.
I used to feel that SHRADDHA is same as; or at least
similar to; blind belief, thoughtless trust, superstition or
unreasonable and unfounded devotion, with petty and mean
ulterior motives. At times I used feel that SHRADDHA is;
merely being emotionally attached or devoted to a
particular God, doctor etc, with some hope against hope!
Hence I thought SHRADDHA is opposed to thorough,
critical and honest analysis!
During my study of Gita, Vishnusahasranam and
Namasmaran I realized that SHRADDHA is absolutely
different. SHRADDHA is totally selfless and unprejudiced
approach or attitude! Thus it is a serious and sincere
commitment for some study or a task! It is being honest,
integrated and committed and nothing else. It does not in
any way, opposed to analysis; even if be ruthless and
Now I am convinced that the appreciation of the spirit of
Gita is extremely difficult; as mentioned in 7th chapter,
especially; without SHRADDHA! SHRADDHA is
absolutely essential for learning the purport of Gita, as
ASHRADDHA, which means casual, prejudiced, petty and/
or selfish approach; usually associated with cynicism and
contempt; is a major hurdle in learning Gita!
ASHRADDHA makes the understanding or realization of
Gita impossible, as implied in 4th and 9th chapters.
December 1, 2009, 05:50 am
What can deter us from SWADHARMA?
Even as I was trying to integrate my concepts, feelings,
passions and my practice, and share it with others; one of
my near dear ones; often kept saying that there won’t be
any change in the world and hence all efforts in that
direction are in vain!
His comments would come suddenly during the peak of
discussion and give a jolt, as if some one splashed his
vomits on you.
Whether that individual gets convinced or not; at least I am
happy to have gradually realized that a body cell and body
work cooperatively to make life possible. If a cell were not
to work in this way, the body would cease to live and the
cell also would die. We live because of this cooperation.
MOHA is ignorance of this which is suicidal. I have to
understand that I eat every day and keep on eating, without
questioning, but when it comes to getting engaged in
SWADHARMA; I start giving excuses! This is MOHA
addressed in Gita; and which is a universal problem, not
only that of the person criticizing, and which is at the root
of all other problems!
Another argument against SWADHARMA is that even if
we try our best the maladies are bound to recur. Why waste
time and energy in it?
I don’t realize that I keep on doing things, such as taking
bath, even when I know that I am bound to get dirty again
and need to repeat it. I don’t give excuse; that I am going to
get dirty again, to avoid bath. But I keep giving excuses
that nothing is going to change permanently in the world
and hence it is stupid and in vain to make efforts! This is
MOHA and makes me tubular, short sighted and petty. It
makes me timid and inert. It keeps me separated from my
true self and hence from the society. This is why the
contradiction between ‘me’ and ‘society’ is born and
I have begun to understand that just as we sleep at night
and start working in morning and just as during spring the
gardens blossom, similarly at opportune times people work
for global blossoming, even if the blossom is bound to end
at some time and followed by summer. The ego of an
individual hides the fact that trillions of activities going on
in the trillions of body cells and in the innumerable
molecules, atoms and subatomic particles; and trillions of
activities going on for trillions of years in the universe are
not done by an individual! He is a part of them! When
spring comes he will have to blossom even if be for a
Hence Arjuna is given to understand that irrespective of
what he feels, he would be engaged in his work just as the
flower has no choice but to bloom during spring! This is
said in 18th chapter (YADAHANKARAMASHRITYA
….NA YOTSYA…, SWABHAVJEN KAUNTEYA…).
How is Gita, related struggles against exploitation, slavery,
chaos and foreign rule?
Gita has given the answer in 14th chapter, in very precise
manner. Thus a person, a society, a nation, the world and
even the entire universe; either perish or blossom; in
accordance with the proportion of; SATVA, RAJA and
TAMA, present in them. When SATVA predominates
many begin to blossom and when TAMA predominates
many begin to perish. The conditions in the society reflect
the proportion of SATVA, RAJA, and TAMA!
From the point of view of Indians, blacks and other Asians
the root of slavery has to seen in the preponderance of
TAMA in the world and growth capitalism, individualism
and imperialism in the growth of TAMA and RAJA.
Gita has given the solution of focusing on cosmic
consciousness through e.g. NAMASMARAN, thereby
increasing SATVA and going even further!
What is the meaning of KARMA and AKARMA?
In 4th chapter, there is a verse (KARMANI AKARMA
YAH PASHYET….) indicating that one who sees action in
inaction and inaction in action is the intelligent and
Thus pure and cosmic consciousness never does anything
in the routine sense of that word. He does not perform any
action! But He is responsible for the whole universe!
This is seeing KARMA in AKARMA!
Conversely, all that we do is like a part of the engine. We
are not drivers of the engine. It is a fallacy to feel that we
are driving. Hence when we realize that we are not doers,
then “our” action becomes null and void and then it is
called as seeing AKARMA in KARMA!
What is the importance of social opinion?
I have mentioned (Pages 4 and 5) what I felt about
argument in favor of war, in 2nd chapter, (Akeertin cha pi
bhootani….Bhayat ranat uparatam…..Awacchya vadanscha
bahoon…..), in which the point of possible social
indignation is used to ‘incite’ Arjuna to participate in war.
But now I see there is another dimension to this argument.
The social opinion is a double edged weapon. It is
extremely harmful if we get sheared apart from our true
self, but it is extremely useful if we get pulled out of our
basal or carnal instincts and/or petty ego!
Society is like our mother. It nurtures us in every way. It is
important that we do not malign it and attribute the
responsibility of our miseries on it, by knowingly or
unknowingly concealing our weakness.
Can simplicity of Gita come in the way of people studying
If we are in sinking frame of mind, we need something
bombastic or dramatic for elevation! The words of Gita
appear too simple to convey much content! We never get
quite impressed by simplicity! We need something
dramatic and/or melodramatic! In fact we start doubting the
importance because of simplicity! We wonder, because of
her simplicity, how and why Gita could enjoy such a
coveted position and reign supremacy in world literature;
inspite of simplicity! We do this rather than going ahead