Bhagavad Gita is a question-answer dialogue between Lord Krishna and Prince Arjun. It is a compilation of Lord Krishna’s philosophical and practical teachings in response to Arjun’s questioning the intricacies, the confusions and the challenges in an individual’s life.
The entire episode is set in a war zone symbolizing that human life is a combat ground as well. Gita is a sacred, practical and eternal guide as to how to tackle evils and to seek a path of spirituality. It covers ethical and moral challenges in the battlefield of life.
Bhagavad means Bhagavan, the Supreme Being, or meaning ‘bhag’, the blessed one. Gita stands for ‘geet’ meaning song. The ‘t’ in Gita is pronounced with tongue straight rather than rolled back.
Divided into 18 chapters with 700 verses Gita encourages us to enter the field of righteousness or truth as a warrior without any second thoughts. Gita calls it ‘Dharam’ or holy duty.
The allegory is when Arjun is in confusion as well as in moral dilemma to be either a contributor to the upcoming bloodshed or get out of it. He questions the worth and the outcome of the fight for dharma.
This is where Lord Krishna, the guide to Arjun on the battlefield, makes his presentation. He introduces the doctrine of karma-yogi, meaning be a warrior in life, and perform the holy duty of fighting against evil.
The field of action is what life is all about. Be a karma yogi is considered to be the most known message of Bhagavad Gita. It involves faithfully and sincerely performing our duties and obligations without attachment to results.
In the following verse Lord Krishna says:
“To action alone hast thou a right and never at all to its fruits; let not the fruits of action be thy motive; neither let there be in thee any attachment to inaction fixed in yoga, do thy work, O Winner of wealth (Arjuna), abandoning attachment, with an even mind in success and failure, for evenness of mind is called yoga”.
Gita offers the ride to a karma yogi on the route of righteousness while facing evils. In other words, life is a struggle in the material world and a journey toward a spiritual destination.
In the spiritual itinerary Gita while advocating the necessity of action with detached expectation of its outcome, emphasizes on intellectual pursuits thru knowledge, discern between right and wrong, mastery of the mind, giving up lust, anger, and greed, identifying the divine and demonic traits in human nature and follow a path of devotion to reach His abode. And that is what makes a person a complete karma yogi.
The long discourse by Lord Krishna in response to Arjun’s questioning and curiosity not only covers the simplistic lessons of being an active karma yogi to handle day to day business of life but the dialogue goes beyond to more deeper philosophies. It covers the material and spiritual subjects; creation, preservation, and destruction of the universe; the flight into the celestial worlds of His multi-facet universal form; life after death, and lot more.
(Excerpts from Hinduism Beyond Rituals, Customs, And Traditions)