The Great Scriptures of the world are beyond the limitations of time and space: they are Eternal and Universal. The Bhagavad Gita belongs to this category of scriptures and as such it is not a Book merely for the Hindus; its message has a universal application. It is as fresh today at it was when given to Arjuna many centuries ago. In fact modern man is in need of the message of the Bhagavad Gita if he is to find freedom from the tensions and anxieties brought into his life by the scientific and technological developments of today.
What indeed is the problem of the modern man ? The new advances in science and technology have brought about an utter confusion of values in the life of men and women living in the present-day civilization. There is increasing stress on quantitative rather than qualitative values. His inner life is poor and he is striving to free himself from the thralldom of this poverty by acquiring more and more of the material things that science and technology have made available. Man is seeking a physical solution to a problem which is fundamentally psychological. He thinks that science, being so powerful can solve the problem of speed, it can give no guidance as to the direction that one must follow. He has lost sight of the fact that while science can give comfort, it cannot give happiness; for happiness consists not in the possession of things, but in freeing the mind of all its inhibitions so that it is rendered pure and innocent. While the modern age has known the conquest over matter, it has yet to learn the secrets of conquering the mind – and without the latter the former is not only meaningless but positively dangerous. Man may have gained in knowledge, but he lacks wisdom. Unless he can transform knowledge into wisdom, his future and the future of the entire race is dark and dismal. In other words, man needs today, above everything else, a Right Philosophy of life.
It is this right philosophy of life which the Bhagavad Gita provides through its priceless message. It provide to a way of life which will help the modern man to find the solution to the baffling problems of existence. The Bhagavad Gita not only enunciates the Gospel of Right Action, it also unmistakably points to the fact that Right Action is possible only if there is Right Perception. And Right Perception in terms of the Gita is that co undistracted attention, freed from confusion of thought and not caught in the play of the opposites. The teaching of the Gita leads Arjuna, step by step, from distractions to illumination from the mind that is caught up in the pulls of desire to the mind that is illumined by the light of Buddhi. In other words, it leads him from Mind to Super-Mind.
Does the Gita ask man to renounce the world in pursuit of spiritual objectives? Does it suggest that man must give up action in order to explore the realms of the Super-Mind? The uniqueness of the teaching of the Bhagavad Gita lies in the fact that it asks man to seek his spiritual objectives in the daily avocations of life—it says that man can come to supreme enlightenment not by running away from action but by performing all actions in the right manner. How can man come to recognize Right Action? The Gita says that as he frees himself from Reaction (Vikarma), he comes to the deep and profound experience of Inaction (Akarma). Inaction or Akarma is indeed the right background for the performance of Karma: or Action—action that is true, action that is free from all contamination of self.
In the three principal definitions of Yoga given in the Gita we perceive the path indicated by Sri Krishna to attain the point of Right Perception from where alone Right Action can emerge. Speaking about Yoga, the Gita says that it is ‘a dissociation from that which gives an association with sorrow.’ What is it that gives to man an association with sorrow? Surely it is mind with its ability to compare and contrast which brings to the human individual a sense of sorrow. The problem of man’s suffering is fundamentally the problem of mind caught up in the process of comparison and contrast. All his reactions emanate from this process. In fact, it is this process which constitutes the ceaseless movement of the mind, the movement which conditions the perceptive activity of man. The Gita deals comprehensively with the conditioning factors of the mind. It calls them tamas, rajas and sattva—inertia, activity and harmony, respectively. One of the clear instructions of Sri Krishna to Arjuna is that he should transcend these three attributes of the mind so that he can come to a clear and undistorted perception of men and things. To dissociate from that which gives an association with sorrow is indeed to be aware of these attributes and their functioning within one’s own psyche. It is in this awareness that one understands the meaning of the second definition of Yoga to be found in the Gita. It states that Yoga is Equilibrium. The state of equilibrium is indeed the poise of inaction, and t can be achieved only when the mind is purged of its three attributes. So long as the mind is caught up in the process of an identification with, or a condemnation of, the movement of the three attributes, so long there can be no experience of equilibrium or silence. From the point of equilibrium whatever emerges is good and beneficent. The third definition of Yoga given by the Gita is : Yoga is skill in action. All actions become perfect when they emanate from the Ground of Inaction or the Ground of Equilibrium.
Modern man is indeed beseiged with great inner conflict, and :t is this conflict which has caused the utter disintegration of his psychological life. The disintegration within has caused unhappiness without. He is verily in search of inner integration and perhaps, for this, there can be no better guide than the teaching of the Bhagavad Gita. The creation of an Integrated individual—Yukta——is indeed the purpose of the intensely dynamic message of the Gita. The Poise of Inaction, where the opposites the mind are transcended, is a state of psychological integration. The Gita deals with this problem in a very comprehensive manner, ii discourse after discourse, until, in the last discourse, Arjuna sees the identity of the Individual and Cosmic Wills, and. with that perception, he arrives at the cessation of inner conflict and therefore to a state of perfect integration.
The message of the Gita has an immediate and practical bearing on the problems of the modern age. It shows a way out of the complexities of the mind, to a complete and unfettered freedom of the Super-Mind. The Gita says that this path is not meant only for the few; it can be trodden by all who seek freedom from life’s entanglements. In an age where the individual is becoming more and more insignificants due to the impacts of political, economic and social forces, the Gita brings to man a message of hope and cheer, for it shows to him that way of life which leads to the regaining of his lost significance. It indicates to him the path of creative living.
The spiritual regeneration of man is indeed the way to the creation of a happy society – this is verily the refreshing and the revitalizing message of the Bhagavad Gita.
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