Today is 25th August, the birthday of Lord Krishna being celebrated as Janmastami through out India and different parts of the world. India is one of the most sought after spiritual destination for the whole world till date and Lord Krishna’s teachings in Shrimad Bhagavad Gita to his beloved friend cum disciple Arjuna is the strongest magnet which attracts the seekers of self realization. It doesn’t matter the cast or creed or religion of the seeker but what really matters is the curiosity, the determination and the intensity with which one seeks. It also is a fact that Lord Krishna is the most influential personality in the context of Indian spirituality and philosophy. Therefore what he has taught in Bhagavad Gita to the mankind has to be understood in it’s true context with correct interpretations.
Bhagavad Gita was told to Arjuna, one of the greatest Warrior of that time, just before start of a great war between near and dear ones, in the middle of the battlefield. Before the beginning of the great war, Arjuna thought of leaving the war without fighting. Then it was being told by the Lord Krishna to him to clear the cloud of self-doubt from the mind, to remind his own duty, to uphold dharma(what is right) in any situation and to perform Niskama Karma(Selfless action). He got enlightened after listening to Lord Krishna. The knowledge he received clarified all his doubt and made him ready to fight the great war for justice.
Though Bhagavad Gita has 18 chapters, the most relevant from the context of a normal human being is the 3rd chapter i.e. Karma Yoga. This chapter has the definition of karma i.e. what is one’s own duty and how to perform it effectively. Some may think that it is not difficult to understand one’s own duty. But it mayn’t be as simple when there is a clash between what one wants to do and what one should do. The real problem starts from this point. Out of these two paths one has to choose one and start walking. The first path may seem easy to begin with but is never easy as there is no end of want i.e. desire. The second path may seem very difficult to begin with but gradually becomes easy as contentment leads to thought clarity and satisfaction. Here Lord Krishna suggests his follower to be a Stithapragyan i.e. the stable minded, who is beyond success or failure / happiness or sadness / winning or loosing, to uphold Dharma at any time i.e what is the right thing to do in any situation, to perform action dispassionately i.e. dedicating all actions to him and to perform action selflessly i.e. performing actions without the sole goal of self benefit. His final words for his followers are
Offer all actions to him, Embrace him as the indweller and Follow his guidelines to engage in the battle of life without any desire or selfishness
Should a remarkable leader be a true Karma Yogi?
Here are some other important lessons
- Never give up what you love
E.g: In spite of war, he managed to play his flute. Similarly, you should carry your passion with you wherever you go.
- Commitments first
Krishna could have lead a comfortable life but he choose to serve his kingdom and his people. That’s commitment.
Kauravas was very poweful and Pandavas hardly stood a chance to win the battle at that time. They knew a few things about Pandavas, eg. BhishmaPitamah would never harm a eunuch. And you know what happened next.
Please share your views on your own definition of Karma yoga in case you don’t agree to this. Last but not the least
Wishing a very happy Janmashtami to all.
About the author
The writer is chief growth hacker at Epecate, a cloud based smart social Learning Management System(sLMS) to bridge the gap between education and employment. The product is an academic facebook for students, cloud based Moodle for institutes, social Webinara for individual trainers and a better LinkedIn for Enterprises. He writes to express himself. He can also be found expressing his personal views at@Saurav_P.