SRIMAD BHAGAVAD-GITAIntroductory Overview
caksur unmilitam yena tasmai sri gurave namah
I offer my most humble obeisances to my spiritual master who has opened my eyes which were blinded by ignorance with the light of knowledge.
pratyak savagamam dharmyam susukham kartum avyayam
This knowledge is the king of all wisdom, the king of all that is confidential. It is the purest and the topmost and because it gives direct perception of the self by realization it is the perfection of all religion and everlastingly joyful to perform. Bhagavad-Gita, chapter 9, verse 2
Bhagavad-Gita Trust is freely offering this presentation of Srimad Bhagavad-Gita to the Earth as a gift to humanity.
It is our humble but earnest request that this information be made easily available to every culture in this world. The knowledge found within the Bhagavad-Gita is incomparable as it gives specific information regarding the purpose of human existence, the immortality of the soul and our eternal relationship with God. This information applies to each and every one of us without exception. Without realization of our divine relationship with the God it is impossible to establish our eternal relationship with Him. This divine relationship is our natural constitutional position and every human beings birthright.
There are three paths which lead directly to establishing a relationship with God. According to the authority of Bhagavad-Gita these paths have been designated as the yoga of perfect actions, the yoga of perfect devotion and the yoga of perfect knowledge. These three paths with great care and attention have been fully explained in the Bhagavad-Gita which comprises chapters 23 through 40 in the Bhishma-Parva section of Mahabharata.
The Bhagavad-Gita consists of 18 chapters. Each chapter is called a yoga. Yoga is the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the Ultimate Consciousness. So each chapter is a highly specialized yoga revealing the path of attaining realization of the Ultimate Truth. The first six chapters have been classified as the Karma Yoga section as they mainly deal with the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the Ultimate Consciousness through actions. These chapters are:
The middle six chapters have been designated as the Bhakti Yoga section as they principally are pertaining with the science of the individual consciousness attaning communion with the Ultimate Consciousness by the path of devotion.
The final six chapters are regarded as the Jnana Yoga section as they are primarily concerned with the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the Ultimate Consciousness through the intellect.
Lord Krishna spoke the Bhagavad-Gita on the battlefield of Kuruksetra in 3102 B.C.; just prior to the commencement of the Mahabharata war. This date corresponds to 1700 years before Moses, 2500 years before Buddha, 3000 years before Jesus and 3800 years before Mohammed. So first and foremost it should be clearly understood that the eternal knowledge of the Bhagavad-Gita has not been influenced by Buddhism, Christianity, Hebrewism or Islam; for these religions did not exist at that time and were established milleniums later.
That proof of the date 3102 B.C. can be verified by any knowledgeable indologist in India based on the fact that this was the year when the Pandava King Yudhisthira ascended the throne and was coronated as emperor of the Earth. Also according to the Aihole inscription of Pulakesin II, the Battle of Kuruksetra took place in 3102 B.C. with Lord Krishna reciting the Bhagavad-Gita before its commencement. As well precise information of the positions of the constellation at the commencement of the Battle of Kuruksetra have been given in the great historical epic Mahabharata itself, which is based on the 26,920 year astronomical cycle known as the precession of the equinoxes which is the time it takes our solar system to revolve around the central sun.
But who exactly is Lord Krishna? Is He Narayana? Is He Vishnu? Is He Vasudeva as referred to in the Taittirya Aranyaka 10.1. 6 ? In the Bhagavad-Gita the Supreme Lord Krishna is addressed by Arjuna with 41 different names. Some of these names are Acyuta, Bhagavan, Govinda, Hari, Isvara, Janardana, Kesava, Madhava, Purusottama and Yogesvara as well as Vasudeva and Vishnu. Although Lord Krishna possesses unlimited names due to His unlimited attributes and potencies it should be clearly understood that the Krishna who is so wonderfully presented in the Puranas is one and the same Krishna who spoke the Bhagavad-Gita and is so marvelously glorified in the Mahabharata.
It should be understood that the Bhagavad-Gita is the very essence of Mahabharata. The Bhagavad-Gita literally translates as the Song of God! It was originally revealed in the classical language of Sanskrit spoken on the Indian sub-continent. It was first translated into English in 1785 by Charles Wilkins. It was translated into Latin in 1823 by Schlegel, into German in 1826 by Von Humbolt, into French in 1846 by Lassens and into Greek in 1848 by Galanos. By now it has been translated into all the major languages of the world such as Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Hebrew, Portugese, Arabic, Hindi and Bengali.
Many great and notable individuals from modern times as well as bygone eras have read the Bhagavad-Gita and have extolled its universal message. We are naming some of them:
Albert Einstein stated that when reading the Bhagavad-Gita he thinks about how God created the universe and then everything else seemed so superfluous.Some western scholars have expressed opinions that the Bhagavad-Gita was written after Jesus Christ and the idea of devotion was taken from him. But anyone who has read both the Bible and the Bhagavad-Gita completely can easily discern the vast difference between the two. The Bible being more of a history book relates in the New Testament stories and pertinent facts regarding the life of Jesus. On the other hand the Bhagavad-Gita gives exact information regarding God, the soul, material nature, birth and death, the purpose of human existence and is a practical manual for spiritual revelation and attainment. It is interesting to note that the two foremost doctrines of Christianity as found in the Bible in Matthew, chapter 22, verses 37 and 39 which say: Love thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul and with all thy mind; and love thy neighbor as thyself are not minimized but completely validated by the Bhagavad-Gita. The book Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, volume six, page 696 states, " It is certain that portions of the Bhagavad-Gita in which the doctrine of bhakti or love of God is revealed are pre-Christian and of indigenous Indian origin. This is not only limited to the devotional portions; but the entirety of the Bhagavad-Gita is pre-Christian. Also it has been well noted by sanskrit scholars that in terms of grammatical construction many sentences and the archaic forms of many words do not follow the strict rules of grammar which all sanskrit scholars follow as expounded given by Panini, who lived in the 6th century B.C.
Not only is the Bhagavad-Gita pre-Christian; but it is also pre-Buddhistic as well. That the Bhagavad-Gita is pre-Buddhistic can be determined by the fact that no where is there any reference to Buddhism. Whereas in the Buddhist scripture Niddesa written in 4 B.C. in the Pali Canon is found reference to the worship of Vasudeva and Baladeva, who are Krishna and Balarama respectively. Although some scholars surmise that the mention of nirvana six times gives them reason to assume that this might be contrary. The word nirvana is always compounded with the word brahma as in brahma-nirvanam meaning identified with the Ultimate truth or with the word paramam as in nirvana-paramam meaning identified with the Supreme. In Buddhism the word nirvana is used to mean extinguished or dissolved in terms of loss of separate existence. As the word nirvana by itself is also used in the Mahabharata in the sense of extinction it can be determined that the Buddhists received this concept of nirvana from earlier Vedic scriptures.
Many of you have been taught by your religions that God is to be feared. Many of you have been taught that this life is all their is and after this life there is nothing more. Others have been taught that after death one goes to heaven or hell. Still other have been taught that it is possible for the soul to be possessed. Some of you believe the possibility of reincarnation and others among you cannot fathom what is true and what is false. Many of you have been conditioned by erroneous conceptions, programed by false realities and even brainwashed to follow belief systems that intelligently it is difficult to follow.
Now we are giving everyone the oppurtunity to learn the eternal message of Bhagavad-Gita. All intelligent species of life, human being and otherwise can take advantage of these instructions and benefit eternally by the transcendental knowledge contained within the Bhagavad-Gita and we are confident that this realization will manifest as a reality in the forseeable future.
Appearance Day of Caitanya Mahaprabhu