Like all prominent scriptures around the world I have noticed that every time I read the Bhagwat Gita it feels like some new aspect of spirituality has unfolded before me. Sometimes a teaching which I struggled to grasp during the previous readings suddenly appears to have become clear when I read it again.
Bhagwat Gita is like an unending ocean of knowledge and I don’t think I will be able to absorb it completely in this lifetime but in this article I have attempted to share what are the main takeaways from Gita which I have been able to decipher and start incorporating in my daily life as well.
1. Perform your Duty without Fear
The premise of Bhagwat Gita is that Arjun founds himself in dilemma over going to war when he sees his family members on the opposing side and Krishna shares the wisdom of Gita with him to help him overcome his doubts, apprehensions and fears and perform his duty as a warrior.
The first time I read Gita I did not see a way this could be practical or relevant in todays age. Since then after reading it several times I have realised that teachings of Gita is relevant in every age or time.
Majority of us do not fight wars on the battlefield but we do face doubts and fears in our day to day duties. The core teaching of Gita can be applied to our everyday lives.
Fear of the uncertain outcome can at times be so overwhelming that we find ourselves paralysed and unable to take any action. This can lead to the situation getting worse and out of control completely.
I noticed that on many occasions in my professional life I would find myself surrounded with uncomfortable situations where I will not be sure how should I react. Not taking any action would signify my failure as an employee and the stress associated will often lead to sleepless nights and feeling miserable for extended durations.
Once I was able to apply this philosophy in my life, I would only focus on doing the best I could in my capacity and in a manner I thought was the most suitable. I would discard unnecessary fear from my mind about what if something goes wrong and the blame comes on me. I would be content that I did the best I could and the rest I should accept as a decision of the Almighty.
Fear I have come to realise is the biggest deterrent to us leading a meaningful life. Only once we overcome this constant fear of what could go wrong, will we be able to lead a peaceful and productive life.
Being in a state of constant fear affects our mental and physical well being and our relations with our friends and family as well.
Overcoming all fear is the first step in advancing further in our spiritual journey.
2. Strive towards a Sattwik Life
The second teaching which has had a profound effect on my life is the importance of incorporating a Sattwik lifestyle.
Gita defines that this world is divided into 3 aspects- Sattwik, Rajasik and Tamasik.
Sattwik quality is associated with being calm, seeking true knowledge and always doing what is good for everyone around you.
Rajasik quality is linked to being ambition driven, always looking to be engaged and active. Being passionately obsessed with every action you do and getting emotionally attached with it.
Tamasik is defined as being lazy, ignorant and lethargic.
These qualities are linked to every aspect of our lives including our thoughts, speech, actions, attire, working style, food and our surroundings.
Over the years I have been making efforts to advance to a Sattwik way of living by finding options which are beneficial for everyone around me and do not harm anyone for my personal benefit.
I have also noticed that a very easy to implement change to adopt a Sattwik lifestyle is making your diet Sattwik.
Sattwik food is simple, fresh, nutritious, balanced food which is based on fruits, vegetables, milk and grains. There should be minimum use of additives, preservatives, condiments and taste enhancers.
Rajasik food is highly spicy, oily and cooked for a long duration.
Tamasik food is bitter and stale.
What kind of food you eat directly impacts your temperament, nature and personality.
If you are able to move towards a Sattwik diet you will very soon start realising changes in your personality as well.
3. Take out Time for Meditation
Gita describes meditation as a tool to realise the universal truth yourself. The more efforts you put to meditation the more clarity you gain about the true purpose of your existence.
Gita says that if we live our lives solely focusing about our material surroundings, our food and our homes then we are not living a life very different form animals. The almighty created humans with the ability to think and meditate so they use it to realise their true potential and advance further in the spiritual realms.
Adding even 20 to 30 minutes of meditation into your daily routine can have a significant impact.
The first benefit of meditation you would realise is that you become more calm. The things which used to make you restless will start to disappear and you would start focusing on things which are truly meaningful to you.
The more you meditate the easier it will be for you to discriminate between which are the material attachments which are holding you back in your spiritual journey and what actions you should take to advance higher.
4. Lead a Balanced Life like a Yogi
Gita lays emphasis on why leading a balanced life of Yogi can help us move towards Moksha or liberation from the un-ending cycles of karma.
Yoga is defined as balance in all aspects of your life. You should not eat too much or too less. You should not work too much or too less. Not sleep too much or too less. Similarly meditate and perform religious rites in a balanced manner so it does not affect other aspects of your life.
Once you start putting focus on achieving this balance and not get over obsessed with any one aspect be it your job, money or property you will realise that your life would start feeling more meaningful.
The serenity you will feel by having a balanced life will be much more than what you could ever achieve through running after material possessions.
5. Let Go of Ego
Gita defines Ahankar or Ego as the biggest obstacle in progress along your spiritual journey. If you start taking excessive pride in your material possessions and achievements it will lead to the downfall in your spiritual progress.
The more your ego grows the more disturbances you will experience in all aspects of your life.
Once you accept the universal reality that there is a supreme power in the universe greater than all humans and no human can claim to surpass it.
Consider whatever wealth and possessions that come your way as a blessing from the almighty which you should use in a way which is good for everyone around you. Only then will you gain happiness from your possessions.
6. Material Possessions will not lead to Happiness
As we are now in the Kaliyug it is expected that all of will be attracted to material possessions and not give the true value to knowledge and goodness.
Most of prefer amassing wealth even if it means hurting those around us and using unfair means to accumulate money.
Wealth and possessions can never give us happiness and satisfaction. We will always feel greedy for getting more and at the same time be paranoid of losing what we have and start mistrusting everyone around us.
The moment we realise that the material possessions are worthless in our spiritual journey that spans across multiple cycles of re-births. Only our good conduct and behaviour moves forward with us as positive karma on the spiritual journey.
I hope you found this article useful and even if it makes you realise a small improvement in your life I will consider it’s purpose served.