All religions and even constitutions uphold certain universal moral guidelines — ahimsa (harmlessness, non agression), satya (truthfullness), astheya (integrity, not stealing other’s wealth), shoucha – kaya,vacha,manasa (purity of body, mind and speech), indriya nigraha (self control).
What action should be taken in the case of conflicts, should we take exceptions, if yes how we should take it? What is the problem if we refrain from actions completely? How should we judge people, should not we judge them at all? What is an individual’s role in society?
Truly the situation of every individual is different, circumstances are different, times are different, places are different and stake holders are different. Then how to give a precise solution to the above problems?
Mahabharatha, Ramayana, Upanishads, Vedas through numerous characters and stories bring out these exceptions and Bhagavadgita is the essence of it.
So only it is said,
sarvopaniṣado gāvo dogdhā gopālanandanaḥ |
pārtho vatsaḥ sudhīr bhoktā dugdhaṁ gītāmṛtaṁ ||
If all upanishads are cows, krishna is the milkman, arjuna is the calf without which the milk would not have come, and the Gita is the milk.
Today, Margashira ekadashi is remembered as Gita Jayanti, the day when Bhagavadgita was narrated to Dritarashtra by Sanjaya. On this day some of my favourite shlokas here.
(1) Karma Yoga
karmaṇyevādhikāraste mā phaleṣu kadācana
mā karma phalaheturbhūrmā te sangōstu akarmaṇi
You are entitled to choose your actions (karma), but not the results (phala). So dont focus on doing result-oriented-actions.
Also do not be a no-action person.
kiṁ karma kimakarmeti kavayōpi atra mōhitāḥ |
tatte karma pravakṣyāmi yajñyātvā mōkṣyase aṣubhāt ||
But what actually is karma? And what is not karma? Even well read people get confused here. I will clarify that karma to you, which will liberate you from that bad state.
karmaṇō hyapi bōddhavyaṁ, bōddhavyaṁ ca vikarmaṇaḥ |
akarmanasṣca bōddhavyaṁ gahanā karmanō gatiḥi ||
While teaching one has to teach what is correct-action, what is incorrect-action and what is inaction. The path of karma is really complex.
karmaṇi akarma yaḥ paṣyati, akarmaṇi ca karma yaḥ |
sa budhimān manuṣyeṣu sa yuktaḥ kṛtsnakarmakṛt ||
One who sees action in inaction and inaction in action, that fellow is the intelligent among all. He is the accomplished one.
(2) Reverse Tree Model
ūrdhva mūlaṃ adhaḥ ṣākhaṁ ashvatthaṁ prāhuravyayaṁ
chandāmsi yasya parṇāni yastaṁ veda sa vedavit
This whole character based, karma oriented everlasting world can be modeled as a special tree called Ashvattha tree, that has roots on top and branches below. The knowledge of vedas are its leaves. One who understands this model, knows the vedas.
adhaschōrdhvaṃ prasṛitāstasya ṣākhāḥ guṇa pravṛddhā viṣaya pravālāḥ |
adhaṣca mūlāni anusantatāni karmānubandhīni manuṣya lōke ||
This is one of the difficult verses of Bhagavadgita/ it explains the philosophical model of the entire universe. It says that the three attributes are in the form of the roots. The branches are in the bottom that contains all the life bounded by the karma. The tree is ever growing powerful.
We need to understand this model clearly.
(3) Vibhuti Yoga
This is the tenth chapter of Bhagavadgita that explains who is the God. Vibhuti means the “ideal representation”. Unlike many other definitions of God, the definiton here is so simple, so diverse and so meaningful.
Krishna says, among the objects of a class he is that object which is the best in class. He is अ (a) among letters, among vedas he is the Sama Veda, among gods Vasu, among Adityas Vishnu, among senses he is the mind, among Rudras he is Shankara, among mountains he is the Meru. He goes on giving examples. So if we strive to be the best in what we do we will be more near to God.. (perhaps I am over simplifying here)