The Bhagavad Gita, the “Song of the Divine One”, is a Sanskrit text from the Mahabharata. The Gita consists of 700 versus, and is spoken mainly by Krishna, who is explaining the purpose of life to Arjuna. The main goal of one’s life is to attain enlightenment, knowledge of the universe. Essentially, God is infinite, and everything and everyone is a part of his energy. One must realize this, and devote himself to worshipping and serving God.
Right before the beginning of the Mahabharata War, Arjuna suddenly refuses to participate in the battle, realizing that the “enemies” he would be fighting against are in fact his friends and relatives. In the Bhagavad Gita,
In this famous scene of the Mahabharata,
However, the Gita goes beyond simply trying to get Arjuna to fight in the war and revealing the truth about
Devoted service to God is not forced onto each individual. Rather, God grants everyone free will, allowing all people to choose to either worship and serve God or to ignore his supremacy. When an individual forgets his duty as the servant of God, he descends into the material world. This material, and this type of existence, is only temporary. Only God and his energy are eternal. His energy takes on numerous temporary shapes, such as the human body form of the soul. As mentioned earlier, everyone is a part of God’s energy. The body of each individual is part of the material world, and is transient. Once in the material world, people are ignorant of their higher and spiritual identities, and simply indulge in temporary, material things in pointless pursuit of pleasure. When they leave their present bodies they enter new ones, part of a succession of rebirths. As a result of this repeating process, the individual suffers the pain and hardships associated with a material existence. Only by achieving enlightenment and a higher understanding of the universe and the individual can a person break free of his bonds to the material world. In life, the goal of the individual is to free his mind from the ephemeral world and his selfish desires and to concentrate on God and serving him. This goal can be attained through various paths, the main ones being devotion to God, selfless action, meditation, and gaining knowledge of the truth.
Selfless action is completing your duties in life because you know it is right, not because you want to gain something. In a way, it is action done in service to God. In the Baghavad Gita,
Devoted worship of God is another path to enlightenment. It, along with meditation, is essential if one wishes to transcend the constrictions and complications of the material world. “Those who set their hearts on me and worship me with unfailing devotion and faith are more established in yoga. As for those who seek the transcendental Reality, without name, without form, contemplating the Unmanifested, beyond the reach of thought and of feeling, with their senses subdued and mind serene and striving for the good of all beings, they too will verily come unto me. Yet hazardous and slow is the path to the Unrevealed, difficult for physical man to tread. But they for whom I am the supreme goal, who do all work renouncing self for me and meditate on me with single-hearted devotion, these I will swiftly rescue from the fragment's cycle of birth and death, for their consciousness has entered into me.”
The Bhagavad Gita is a portion of the Indian epic The Mahabharata, which depicts a war that is estimated to have occurred around the beginning of the 9th century B.C. However, centuries later, it continues to have an impact on both literature and religion. Even today, the Bhagavad Gita is considered a sacred religious text by Hindus and is tremendously influential in