Read Gita and Practise Yoga

Swami Gyanprakash Saraswati

Gita is one of the most ancient texts that we can find in our culture. It is part of the great Mahabharata. Within it is the most complete philosophy of yoga related to our everyday life in thousands of ways. Each and every word of the Gita can have so many meanings. But the essential message of the Gita is only one. Some people say that Gita is about bhakti yoga, some say karma yoga, self-realization and so on. But only great sages and saints can tell you the real meaning of Gita.

In this precious text we find many important things about social and family matters as well. One of these important points is maintaining the correct attitude and consistency in the performance of duties, which is karma yoga. Of this Sri Krishna Bhagavan says: "Set thy heart upon thy work, but never on its reward. Work not for reward; but never cease to do your work". (2:47)

Forget the fruits of your work but remember your duty. This is a very important point to remember in karma yoga. In Gita we find that the work can be pure and noble. That is why Sri Krishna says, "Offer to me all your work and rest your mind on the Supreme. Be free from vain hopes and selfish thoughts, and with inner peace, fight your fight". (3:30) Learn through yoga to be free and fight, fight until you reach that goal of peace and salvation.

Man has not come to this world just to suffer and die and be born again. There is something beyond that which we ourselves have to find out. And it is right here within our culture that we have to seek, we have to look to the ancient texts which are the heritage of our ancestors and to yoga. Yoga has completely directed the course of man's culture. And in the future it is going to completely change our lives. That is what we read in Gita. Here we see how Arjuna who was full of darkness and ignorance changes completely by the light of knowledge. But for this to occur we have to take refuge in that supreme consciousness. That is why Sri Krishna Bhagavan says: "Leave all things behind and come to me for thy salvation. I will make thee free from the bondage of sins. Fear no more." (18:67)

So read Gita and practise yoga, but with constancy, not like the disciple of one mahatma who one day said: 'Guruji, give me a mantra and a mala.' The guru gave him the mala and mantra and told him, 'Now do as much japa as you can. The mala must rotate for as many hours as possible.' A few days later the mahatma met the disciple again and asked him about his practice and the disciple said: 'Oh it is going on nearly twenty four hours a day, Guruji.' The guru thought it was very strange. How could he do so much japa all at once? The next day he went to the disciple's house, after talking about other things for sometime, the mahatma asked him: 'Well, where is your mala? You said it is rotating all the twenty four hours but I don't see it in your hand'. The disciple said, 'Oh yes, you said that the mala should rotate as much as possible so I hung it on the fan, and it rotates nearly twenty four hours. Sometimes the electricity goes off so it stops. But if the current is regular, it goes on most of the time.'

This is not the real meaning of constancy. Study of the scriptural texts such as Gita should be a regular part of one's daily sadhana. The spiritual science must first be studied and then applied. This has been recognised by all the saints and savants from times past. For the sadhaka who has not yet experienced the spiritual unfolding for himself, yoga begins with study and practice. This is the way to develop true understanding.