The Relevance of the Bhagavad Gita Today

(I am aware that there may be errors in this post. Will edit when I get a chance.)

OM

Mukam karoti vaacaalam pang gum lang ghayate girim

Yat kripaa tam aham vande paramaananda maadhavam

I salute Lord Krishna, the source of Supreme Bliss,

whose grace makes the dumb eloquent and the criple cross mountains.

Revered Pravrajika Ishtaprana Mataji, respected elders, sisters, brothers and dear children, ONN… my apologies, Om Namo Narayanaya

The Relevance of the Bhagavad Gita Today

LOL, WUD, BTW, HUD, BRB, LTM, G2G, XOXO, OMG.

The language of today.Electronic shorthand. There meaning for this talk is irrelevant but there is no denying it and no hiding from it. It is part of the evolution of Humanity.The word “google” is an actual verb recognised by the English dictionary along with the term “poke”  not the Indian thug way of saying, “Ay don’t mess with me ‘cos I’ll poke you.” but rather a means of electronically nudging your friend and saying, “Hello, how are you, I am thinking of you.” All this with the click of one button.   Technology makes life easier, faster, instantaneously gratifying. Information on practically any subject , in any language of your choice is available on the internet, available on new smart phones. The world at our fingertips… A virtual pandora’s box. For those unfamiliar with the story of Pandora’s box allow me to swap the analogy with a Hindu one. During the churning of the ocean, there emerged several good items and divine nectar while also allowing for the creation of several negative things including a deadly poison. All of creations was rescued when Lord Shiva drank the poison. Technology is the mountain, the use of technology and it’s various platforms is the churning and indeed nectar and poison of progress and atrocities are the respective resultants.     Our saviour is the Srimad Bhagavad Gita, wisdom given to us by God himself.

I once read a statement that read: if it was not for technology I would not be able to communicate with my family halfway across the world . The counter argument to that was if it was not for technology, one’s family would never be halfway across the world to begin with. We cannot deem technology bad or dangerous because it brings about change that we fear. To the caveman, cooking and eating using utensils, was new technology. Had he never embraced that technology perhaps humankind would still be mere animals walking on two legs. Thankfully we are not, and we are rich with art, literature, education and spirituality.

 

Millenia ago Saint Ved Vyas  gave us The Mahabharat. An epic that depicts the battle of dharma against adharma, of good against evil. All set as a huge family drama. If the characters of the Mahabharat were around today, we would probably have some very interesting posts on Facebook, for example:

Draupad added the event, Draupadi’s swayamvar.

Arjun, Duryodhan and several others are attending.

Arjun added a life event, married to Draupadi.

Kunti like this.

Draupadi changed her relationship status to, “it’s complicated”.

Duryodhan added event – family get together.

Sakuni Maamaa likes this.

Yudhishtira and 120 people are attending.

Draupadi added a new album – sarees by Sri Krishna.

Yudhistira updated his status to “is in exile”.

Duryodhan, Sakuni Maamaa and 99 others like this.

Sri Hanumanji and Bhima are now friends.

Ved Vyas added new event – Kurukshetra.

Duryodhan, Yudhishtira, Bhishma, Bhima, and thousands others are attending.

Sri Krishna and Arjuna are now friends.

Sri Krishna is attending the event – Kurukshetra.

Sri Hanumanji is attending the event – Kurukshetra.

And upon entering the battlefield of Kurukshetra

Arjun would probably have tweeted: I am not ready for a family feud.

To which Sri Krishna would reply:

Yeild not to cowardice. It is beneath you. Shake of this weakness, O Arjun. Stand up and engage in the fight for life. (2:3).

And thus would begin the Srimad Bhagavad Gita.

Facebook and Twitter anecdotes aside the Srimad Bhagavad Gita and the messages imparted therein are as relevant  today as it was when Sri Krishna breathed life into it. The reason for my modern spin is not just a light-hearted grab for attention, but to reaffirm the fact that whatever the situation and time… the answer, advice and guidance exists in the words of Sri Krishna.

When the printed word became mass produced and litracy of the masses spread, I am sure old school, orthodox folks huddled together and said, “This is bad, reckless times. The reckless youth.”

To quoted an Eglish song “it’s the end of the world as we know it”.

Little has changed save the playing field and the platform. What new technologies provide beyond progress and opportunities is the blurred and grey area of the associated pitfalls. Many people are quick to embrace new technologies and many of those people often do so whilst not being completely prepared or mentally equiped. But what does all of this have to do with the Sri Bhagavad Gita?

With new technologies come new challenges, new troubles. It is inevitable. The Holy Mother says: Troubles come but they do not last. They pass like water under a bridge. Should we hide away from technology and the new challenges they pose? No. When faced with the daunting task of warring against his family, Arjun put down his bow, turned to Sri Krishna and expressed his despondency.

The Lord replied: This despair and self-pity in a time of crisis is mean and unworthy of you, Arjuna. How have you fallen into a state so far from the happiness of heaven?

Let us replace the name Arjun with another, Sita, Gita, Priscilla, Ram, Sham, Jack, or your own. Swamiji echoes the words of Sri Krishna when he says: Come up, O lions, and shake off the delusion that you are sheep; you are souls immortal, spirits free, blest and eternal.

Yes things are changing; it is a sign of progress, a reminder that with the rise and fall of every day human kind is innovating, creating and adapting. Fools may hide themselves away and pretend that it will not affect them but pretence is just a lie, worse so when done to one’s self.

The reason I focus on technology is because it is the great symbol of our time, of our age, of today. Everything is going digital, high definition, faster.  Swamiji and Sri Krishna both advise us to face challenges head-on. From the greatest trials and difficulties emerge the greatest gems. Coal remains coal if undisturbed. With sufficient pressure the coal becomes a diamond. A caterpillar must struggle out of its cocoon to celebrate its beauty as a butterfly. Help it and it never develops the strength to fly and breathe and dies soon after emerging. Had it not been for the Kurukshetra the Bhagavad Gita may never have been gifted to humankind.

This does not mean that we are to ignore everything and just move on, quite the opposite. We should embrace the new technologies and new challenges knowing that with the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita we are empowered to be victorious.

It was scary to read an article about a Chatsworth youth who may never walk again because bullies injured him. Two boys decided to   enact a move they saw on a wrestling entertainment show and drove the boy head first into the pavement, snapping his vertebrae. The immediate reaction is: well TV is bad. Ban TV, children should never watch TV and so on. So quick we are to blame something else, someone else. TV and in fact all media is but a reflection of society. It is society that needs guidance. Had the children inflicting the damage been better prepared as human beings with the correct amount of love and attention this tragedy could have been avoided. Often the bully is the one crying for attention, acting out because he or she feels lost and frustrated. Sri Krishna says: A man should reshape himself through the power of his will. He should never let himself be degraded by his lower self-will: the positive will is the only friend of the Self, and the negative will is the only enemy of reaching the Self.

The Lord also says: Those who possess this wisdom of yoga have equal love for all. They see the same Self in a spiritual aspirant endowed with learning and humility, a cow, an elephant, a dog and an outcast.

I cannot believe other than had the bullies been taught this from a young age, this tragedy could have been avoided. Not the tragedy that is the boy in hospital but the greater tragedy that is the corruption and misguidance of the spirits of the bullies. If I acknowledge that the same energy resides in you, and me the same God, how can I do anything but love you as a manifestation of the divine. When one acknowledges that they are a divine entity and so is every other individual… how then can there be room for conflict.

Once upon a time, TV was the greatest concern for parents and teachers. It distracts the children and corrupts their minds. But those days are long gone with the advent of social networks, cellular phones and chat rooms. I have often been called an old fogey and I suppose that is fitting when you consider the fact that I believe that no child under the age of sixteen should have a cellular phone or social network presence. But when you look around and realise that the children today have multifarious activities to schedule then the necessity for cellular phone becomes apparent. But these still need to be monitored lest these practical tools become gateways into trouble. Little boys and girls claiming romantic relationships when they do not even fathom who they themselves are. Yes it may seem cute at first but when children start rushing to become adults, what happens to the joy, wonder and beauty of childhood, what type of underdeveloped adults do they become? Equip children with the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita so they are empowered to make the right decisions.  Social networking and chat rooms do not pose a threat to children alone. More and more people are communicating via electronic media and forgetting how to interact face to face. The greater threat is that when one is on these platforms, one can be whomever one wishes to be to get the attention they seek. Sometime last year an adult male went missing only to have some of his body found a day later in a shallow grave at the cemetery. How did this happen. The man met a woman via the Internet in a chartroom. Having chatted for a bit she then asked the man to meet her one night after work for a late night picnic. Believing that this was a budding relationship the man agreed. Sadly when he met her one evening for a picnic in a graveyard she and her real boyfriend attacked and killed the man.  Later it was discover that while the couple seemed normal at face value they were both sad, angry individuals who wanted to kill someone to express themselves and feel alive. The poor victim was misguided into believing he had found love online.

Lust, anger and greed this is the triple gateway to hell, destructive of one’s life; they should be abandoned. If a man is free from these three he can work out his own good and reach the highest goal. So it is written in the Bhagavad Gita.

It is not technology that is good or bad, but how we use it that makes it one or the other. For every negative aspect of technology there is a positive aspect as well. TV and the Internet provide education for those unable to get to classrooms. Information is available from experts online. Communication is made easier. Knowledge is available.

We are bombarded with news headlines that speak of wars, bombings, murder, rape, accidents, corruption etc. When I was little my grandparents would respond to such news saying: Oh this is truly Kalyug. It is only going to get worse. God only knows what is going to happen. Yes this is kalyug according to our great sages who explained time in a scriptural context, but this does not mean that it is hopeless and that we are doomed. In the Gita Mahatmayam it reads: Where the Gita is read, there help comes quickly; where the Gita is inquired into, chanted, taught or listened to, O Earth, there undoubtedly and unfailingly do I Myself (meaning God) reside. Sri Krishna says: If a man worships Me and meditates upon Me with an undistracted mind, devoting every moment to Me, I shall supply all his needs and protect his possessions from loss. Amidst all the murky water the lotus does bloom. Sri Krishna promises in the Gita that He is born again and again whenever the need is greatest to offer mankind salvation. He who came as Sri Ram and He who came as Sri Krishna came in Kalyug as Sri Ramakrishna to show mankind a way to happiness and divine bliss. The message of the Bhagavad Gita is echoed in the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. Both advising man to embrace life and live the best life you can. Performing your duties with one hand while holding on to the feet of God with the other.

Master, Mother and Swamiji all gave us the following message but in their own way, that the easiest way to God in this Kalyug is the sincere, heartfelt reptition of Gods name. Hare Ram Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare.

 

Om Hari Om Tat Sat.