In a nutshell, stop focusing on success. A message that was profound for the following Axis Yoga Teacher Training student. In fact, many of Krishna’s messages from the Bhagavad-Gita give good reason for meditation and reflection. The following account shows how this book prompted one student to embark on a life-long path towards detachment in the pursuit of inner peace and happiness.
Tag Archive for: bhagavad-gita
For my personal experiment I decided to read the book called Bhagavad-Gita. It was a recommendation by my teacher for those students who could not decide what to pick for their personal experiment.
I had no prior knowledge of this book, its content, and its importance in the world of literature, poetry and spirituality. Of course I had no idea of what impact reading this book would have on myself. All I heard was it’s a story of Krishna presented in a poem format.
What started as just a classroom assignment became a much bigger experience, something I feel will carry with me through life. After finishing this book I know now selecting this book was not just by chance, it came to me because I needed it at this point of my life.
I started with researching online about this book to understand more on what I am about to get into with my classroom assignment. I knew I had a lot to learn since I didn’t even know who Krishna was. As I am writing my summary I realize I will not be able to explain all my learning in the format of 3-page classroom assignment.
Bhagavad Gita means The Song of the Bhagavan or the song of the Lord (Bhagavan means God or the Lord). The Gita is small but appears to be a part of the vast Hindu epic, the Mahabarata, a poetic chronicle of two warring groups of cousins, the Kauravas and the Pandavas. The Gita is universally acknowledged as one of the world’s literary and spiritual masterpieces.
The Gita is set in a narrative framework of a dialogue between Pandava prince Arjuna and Krishna. In Hiduism Krishna is an incarnation of Vishnu, and is the main character of the Gita. Here in battle, he serves as Arjuna’s charioteer, and comes to earth to help Arjuna see his dharmic duty as a warrior, dharma means the law or principle. Arjuna finds himself in a state of panic on the morning of a battle. The enemies he is expected to fight are his cousins he knows well. In his state of confusion and doubt, Arjuna turns to his charioteer, Krishna, for help. The answers he gets are not exactly what he wants to hear, but it is Krishna’s opportunity to tell a mortal about how the universe operates, and the best approach to life.
The answer Krishna gave to Arjuna to kill as opposed to a more peaceful way of dealing with this family conflict was also surprising to me, at first. However, as the story continued I became more clear about Krishna’s guidance to Arjuna to push forward and destroy the enemy. When Arjuna questions how he can support such sin, Krishna said there is no such thing as the killer and the killed, that the body is merely flesh, and at the time of death he attains another body. These limits of the superficial body should not stop someone from doing what he must do.
The true master, says Krishna, realizes that reality lies in the eternal; such people are not affected by the temporary changes that come with the senses. Instead, as a warrior, he must follow his dharma, or duty, where in this case nothing is higher than the war against evil. If he retracts from this battle, he will incur sin, violating his dharma and his honor. He encourages Arjuna to not see the results of action, but rather focus on the work itself, without selfish attachments, alike in success and defeat.
This was profound for me to read. I started meditating on the question of what is my duty, why am I here. Am I fulfilling my duties or am I resisting? During the 3 weeks of my personal experiment I kept asking questions and meditated on them. The answers kept coming.
I realized this will be a long path to find wisdom and peace with my duties as a mother, as a wife, as a daughter, as a member of community and as an earth citizen; however, I understood the key is to keep focusing on the work and not be consumed with the result and how hard or impossible it would be to get there. Krishna tells Arjuna that the definition of a wise man is one who is unconcerned with whether things are “good or bad,” but rather abandons attachments to the fruits of labor. That was beautiful and liberating to hear or read.
I realized as a mother I never stop loving my children. When they were babies with every sound of cry they made I was there and ready to take action, checking on their state of well being. No matter how tired, how sleepy, how hungry, or how sad I was I knew my duty, my commitment as a mother to protect my children without any question. I did not think about any reward any recognition or praise for my actions. I understand this is the way of yoga.
I also understand I have a long way to go to be able to respond to every situation in life in the state of yoga, however, now I have the awareness of not being so worried about how hard this will be to achieve but to simply be action focused and keep pushing forward towards meditative state without agitation or resistance. Krishna encourages action with awareness, or selfless action, designed not to please one’s ego or to gain sensual pleasure, but rather in service to a higher power. I am going to focus that. When Arjuna asked Krishna what happens if someone cannot achieve yoga in their lifetime, Krishna says as long as a person is truly committed to achieving yoga, even if he dies before achieving it, he will be reborn into a situation that will help him complete his journey. He says if one begins on the path, then the divine will help guide him towards his goal, even if it takes successive lifetimes to do it.
Krishna’s explanation about death, living, and the immortal self (soul) was enlightening as well. The timing for picking up this book couldn’t have been better. My mother is very ill and could be dying. I have been very sad about it. She lives far from me, in Canada and even though I have other siblings caring for her I wanted to be with her too. Reading this book helped me cope with the situation much better. My first reaction before starting the book was to buy a ticket and fly to Canada right away.
As I read the story I thought of my duty as a student and how I need to stay focused in my training. My duty as a wife and mother and how I am needed at home. My mom has good help right now, I can visit later or if her situation gets much worse. Then I can decide to go. For now I chose to take the action of prayer for her healing and that feels right. I thought of Krishna saying we are already dead. That’s so true! In the past I would stop praying if I didn’t get the results I wanted but now I see how I was so attached to the result and did not understand the path of action. I now understand my prayers may not heal my mom but I keep praying without expectations. It feels peaceful and healing every time I chant a prayer so I will keep going.
The book has brought up great discussions with my husband and children. This is a great self-help book to read. Whether one is religious or not, the book helps in all aspects of life. I found it to be practical, spiritual, liberating, and enlightening. This book will continue to help me apply krishna’s advice and Arjuna’s questions which were similar to many of my own in my life. I understand how difficult it is to detach from success and good results. How hard it is to see failure or success in a state of indifference but I also understand now it’s not impossible to work towards it. It takes daily focus and conscious effort and the divine in me will come forward eventually.
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