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The Bhagavad-Gita

Overview
The search for happiness
 All activities are performed in
hope of happiness
 Many anxieties:
 College education
 Job
 Family
 Retirement
 DEATH (the biggest anxiety)!
 Always looking for relief
 Vacation --- a break!
 As humans, we can question the
cause of our unhappiness – is
there permanent happiness?
Humans vs. Animals
 Four (4) things in common:
1. Eating
2. Sleeping
3. Mating
4. Defending

 Humans do these activities in more


sophisticated manner – but activity is same

 Finer/more refined intelligence – allows us


to question & search for true happiness

 Use human intelligence to solve the real


problems of life, otherwise how are we
different from animals?
Real Problems of Life
 Their nature (not relative – applicable to
ALL):
 Common to all
 No one wants it
 No one can avoid it

 Birth – Disease –
Old age – Death!
 For example, child
born crying

Other reasons which prevent happiness…


Threefold miseries

 Adhydaivika (material nature)


 Adhybhautika (other living entities)
 Adhyatmika (body & mind)

We look towards science for solutions…


Scientific Solutions
 Most scientific solutions are not
permanent solutions:
 Cosmetic industry (old age)
 Cryogenics (death – looking for
eternal life)
 Prozac (mind/ depression) even
teenagers are using it

 While generally helpful,


some scientific solutions
are worse than the
actual problem:
 Cars – pollution
 Industries – oceans
flooded with wastes
 Cell phones – make
lives busier / can cause
cancer
Happiness from the Senses (eyes,
ears, nose, tongue, skin)

 Temporary and Disappointing (i. e., piece of


gum)
Spiritual books of India tell us that
we cannot achieve real
happiness from the senses or
from scientific advancement --
real happiness comes from
within -- and these spiritual texts
implore us to seek out that
source of inner happiness…
Two basic divisions of spiritual
knowledge of India
SRUTI (heard) SMRTI (remembered)
 4 Vedas:  Puranas
 Rg  Itihasas
 Sama  Ramayana & Mahabharata
 Yajur (includes the Bhagavad-
 Atharva Gita)
 Brahmanas
 Aranyakas
 Upanisads (108)

We want to focus on the Bhagavad-Gita, the essence of all


spiritual literature…
Bhagavad-Gita – India’s timeless
classic on all facets of spiritual
knowledge
 “Song of God”
 Put into written form – 5,000 years ago –
previously remembered
Topics of the Bhagavad-Gita
 Describes:
 atma (the Soul)
 yogas and their purposes
 karma (duty or action)
 reincarnation (life after death)
 sanatana dharma (eternal duty
of the living entity)
 prakrti (material nature)
 isvara (the Supreme Lord)

Universal teachings – not only for Indians/Hindus…


Extraordinary personalities
reflect on the Gita
Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)
The Bhagavad-Gita calls on humanity
to dedicate body, mind and soul to
pure duty and not to become mental
voluptuaries at the mercy of random
desires and undisciplined impulses.

Albert Einstein
(1879 – 1955)
When I read the Bhagavad-
Gita and reflect about how
God created this universe,
everything else seems so
superfluous.
Extraordinary Personalities
reflect on the Gita (cont.)
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 –
1882)

The Bhagavad Gita is an empire of


thought and in its philosophical
teachings Krishna has all the attributes
of the full-fledged monotheistic deity
and at the same time the attributes of
the Upanisadic absolute

Dr. Albert Schweitzer


(1875 – 1965)
The Bhagavad-Gita has a
profound influence on the
spirit of mankind by its
devotion to God which is
manifested by actions
Setting the scene / Why the
Gita was spoken?
 Mahabharata leading up to the Gita
 Pandu’s death – Dhrtarastra in charge
of Pandavas, but favored own children
 Pandavas poisoned/house burned/
wife insulted/cheated/exiled for 13
years
 Kingdom refused/attempted peace
failed
 Battlefield of Kuruksetra
 Arjuna refuses to fight and turns to
Krishna for instructions.
 Thus a conversation ensues between
Krishna & Arjuna…
En d Of Pa rt On e