The Study of Bhagavad-Gita

The ideology system of each person bases on several elements, which are the most important for life. Religion is one of the elements, so the study of Hinduism as one of the world’s major religions is always relevant. The ancient Indian epic Mahabharata describes the dynastic struggle for the throne between two cousins – the Kauravas and the Pandavas. Bhagavad-Gita is the main part of the Mahabharata, which describes the conversation between Arjuna and Krishna. That is why the Bhagavad-Gita study opens the way to the knowledge of Hinduism containing its basic postulates.

Summary of Bhagavad-Gita

  1. Arjuna-Visada Yoga – Bhagavad-Gita was spoken on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, which was the place of pilgrimage from the time of the development of Vedic civilization. Arjuna feels despair at a meeting between the Kauravas and the Pandavas on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, he does not want to fight as he sees family and friends (grandfather Bhishma) among the Kauravas. The armies of opponents are described in this chapter at the time when Arjuna asks Krishna to lower his chariot between opponents and to help to avoid the battle.
  2. Sankhya Yoga – Arjuna asks Krishna to provide his guidance, Krishna explains him that only the material body can be killed, but the eternal soul is indestructible. Krishna tells Arjuna that his military duty is to maintain the dharma in battle.
  3. Karma Yoga – Actions. Arjuna grieves and Lord Krishna decides to allay his grief caused by ignorance. For this purpose he tells Arjuna about wonders, that knowledge is more important than action, and the battle is not necessary. Krishna emphasizes that the desire to complete one’s own duty without the desire to influence the consequences is the most appropriate reason for action.
  4. Jnana-Karma-Sanyasa Yoga – Divine knowledge, knowledge about the soul, about the Lord and their relationship, can clear and release. A person acquires this knowledge in the process of selfless devotion to God (karma yoga). The Lord tells the story of Gita, explains the purpose and meaning of his coming into the material world, and also talks about the need for a guru, spiritual mentor, who grasped his own spiritual nature.
  5. Karma-Sanyasa Yoga – Arjuna asks Krishna, which is better – to cease activity or to get involved into it. Krishna says that both pathways may be favorable, but activity within karma-yoga is above all. A wise man can perform a variety of actions turning away from their results in his heart.
  6. Dhyan Yoga – Krishna describes the correct motivation for yoga, postures for meditation and the process by which Arjuna can achieve samadhi (full recognition of the Lord).
  7. Jnana-Vijnana Yoga – knowledge and distinctions. The seventh chapter of Bhagavad Gita describes the nature of Krishna consciousness in detail. Krishna is full of all perfections, and this chapter tells us about the ways he displays them. In addition, it identifies four types of lucky people who come to Krishna and four types of losers who never do it.
  8. Aksara-Brahma Yoga – in this chapter the Lord speaks to Arjuna, beginning with the question about Brahman. He also talks about karma (activity that brings result), as well as about pure devotional service for Krishna with love during all life, after which the person is able to attain His supreme abode.
  9. Raja-Vidya-Raja-Guhya yoga – Krishna explains that recognition of the fact, that all the creatures are inside of Him, and helps to remember it in all circumstances. Surrendering to the Absolute Truth, anyone can achieve spiritual abode – a slave, a woman, a trader or a savage.
  10. Vіbhutі-Vіstаrа-yоgа – Krіshnа descrіbes thаt He іs the оnly sоurce оf аll mаterіаl аnd spіrіtuаl wоrlds. Аrjunа proclaims аnd аccepts Krіshnа аs the Supreme Gоd. He trіes tо quоte the greаt sаges, whо has аlsо аccepted the dіvіnіty оf Krіshnа. The essence оf the cоnversаtіоn between Krіshnа аnd Аrjunа іs іn the іdeа thаt Krіshnа іs the supreme ruler оf аll beings.
  11. Visvarupa-Darsana yoga – contemplation of the universal form. At the request of Arjuna, Krishna reveals his universal form (Visvarupa), ubiquitous manifestation of God, containing all living creatures and elements of creation and millions of suns.
  12. Bhakti yoga – Krishna describes the process of devotional service (bhakti-yoga). If the soul overcomes the threshold of indifference and inaction and dedicates itself to work for the good of others, it may be given the possibility to serve the Pure Devotee.
  13. Ksetra-Ksetrajna Vibhaga yoga – Krishna describes the nature, enjoyment and consciousness. He shows that we should not associate our activity with the body only; it is like a field, a special place for it.
  14. Gunatraya-Vibhaga yoga – Krishna explains the nature of the three modes. It is a science, it can transform anyone’s reality, change dimension, move the boundaries of Arjuna’s world.
  15. Purusottama yoga – Yoga highest Purusha. Krishna describes the symbolic giant tree, similar to banyan tree, which represents material existence. Krishna explains that this tree should be cut down with the axe of detachment and then it will be possible to get to his eternal abode. Although living creatures grow and nourish the world with their mercenary activities, they can organize these activities with the help of the Vedas.
  16. Daivasura-Sampad-Vibhaga Yoga – Krishna speaks about the signs of the divine and the demonic nature of a man. He gives advice that in order to achieve the highest goal, it is necessary to abandon anger and greed, with consistent activity with Scripture . Home commandment is to give pleasure to God.
  17. Sraddhatraya-Vibhaga Yoga – there are three types of faith, corresponding to the three modes of material nature that strengthen under their influence. Acts committed by those whose faith relates to the modes of passion and ignorance, bring only temporary, tangible results, whereas acts committed under the influence of the mode of goodness, purify the heart.
  18. Moksha-Sanyasa Yoga – in fact, Bhagavad-Gita is ended with the 17th chapter. The eighteenth chapter summarizes the ideas from the other chapters, and emphasizes the ultimate necessity to serve to Lord Krishna devotionally. It points out this idea as the main goal of life.

Personal Reaction to the Bhagavad-Gita

All 18 chapters of the book contain deep spiritual truths in different spheres. Therefore, I would like to express my personal reaction not to the whole ideology of Hinduism and Christianity as another world religion, but only to the concept of faith. Bhagavad-Gita and the Bible say that everyone has their own belief. I appreciate this idea. I agree that any man either worships God or replaces his own faith with something. However, the object of righteous faith is different in Bhagavad-Gita and the Bible. In Hinduism, depending on man’s nature, his faith may refer to the mode of goodness, passion or ignorance. I would like to emphasize that according to the ideology of Hinduism, every living creature by its very nature is a tiny parcel of the Supreme Lord (The Song of God (Bhagavad Gita) 15). Therefore, initially, all souls are beyond the modes of material nature. The word shraddha (faith) is very important (The Song of God (Bhagavad Gita) 17:3). Shraddha always arises from the mode of goodness. A person can believe in some kind of demigod or his own inventions. However, in any case, a strong faith must lead him to work in the material mode of goodness. І dіsаgree wіth thіs іdeа, аs it clаіms the Dіvіne іs nоt the оbject оf fаіth, but the fаіth іtself іs the оbject. It turns out that one must believe unusually strong, cleaning of purchased material contamination. Faith must be entirely in pure goodness, to avoid spoiling by the influence of other modes of material nature. However, in case of material life, the action cannot be absolutely pure, no goodness can be in its pure form. People are not good enough for that. Hinduism prescribes perfect belief, regardless of the object of faith. I am inclined to the position of Christianity. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (King James Bible, Hebrews 11:1), the Bible says that the essence is in the object of faith precisely, not in its level of quality, as Christ is the only possible object for faith: ” no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (King James Bible, John 14:6). Thus, the Bhagavad Gita instructs people to be perfect, but only few of them may be able to do this. The Bible draws attention to the object of perfection, Who with his goodness provides for imperfect people a possibility to be saved by faith. Therefore, the position of the Bible is closer to me.

Examining the Bhagavad-Gita as a part of Indian epic Mahabharata, I can state that Krishna is the supreme deity and devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead that is the ultimate goal of life according the book. At the same time, analyzing the point of view of Hinduism and Christianity regarding faith, I am inclined to Christianity, which, in my opinion, has a more humanistic approach to human imperfection. However, the Bhagavad-Gita research has made it possible to analyze it along with the basic tenets of Hinduism, which confirms the thesis.