B L Razdan
Gita Jayanti, the birthday of Gita, is celebrated on the 11th day of the Shukla Paksha (waxing phase of moon) of Margashirsh month of the traditional Hindu calendar every year. This year the day falls on 14th December and is being celebrated accordingly across continents by people who believe in the universality of human brotherhood and humanity at large.
Human life is a mixture of necessity and freedom, chance and choice. The central teaching of the Bhagwad Gita points out to the individual freedom of choice and the way each one exercises it. The paths of the good and the pleasant are before us.
The nature of the paths and their goal is also known to us. Yet we find it difficult to choose the right and reject the other. So we fall back on the pleasant and are caught in this whirlpool (maya chakra). This is because we rely on the mind rather than the intellect to guide us through life. The mind is akin to a child whose actions need to be supervised by an adult so that the child is protected from possible dangers it is likely to encounter. Human intellect is the adult that can guide the mind from its wayward nature. The action and behaviour of an individual is a manifestation of his desires. It may be a sense of duty, or one’s aspirations for material goals, or the desire to fulfill one’s purpose in life. The cause and effect factor binds every human act. The intention behind every act is important. The effort to choose the right path is difficult. The whole teaching requires man to transcend bondage.
The cause for a lot of sorrow in this world is money and the greed to get more and more money. The desire to amass wealth makes us miserable. It is the bent of mind we have that urges us to go after riches. So, ultimately, it is the mind that is the culprit. If we keep the mind under control, then sorrow can be kept away.
Every cell in our body is intelligent to think and act. We have 60 trillion of these cells in our body and our health depends a lot on the harmonic balance and cohesion of the cells with each other. If one holds a negative emotion towards somebody, something or some event in one’s life, each time he thinks of that the whole body re-lives the emotional upheaval of that association. Our mind doesn't have a mind of its own, and doesn't know if the event is happening in real time or it is being replayed. So it produces the same stress hormones each time. Each and every cell of our body starts feeling the same emotion; of let us say "hatred" towards that event, person or experience all over again. Naturally, the body is not at ease. This is a state where the condition of disease sets in. If we continue to live in that state, our cells are now getting conditioned to live in the same state. The Upanishads say "Yatha Pinde Tatha Brahmande" as is the atom so is the universe. The health of a person depends on how well all the systems of the body and the 60 trillion cells play the melody of harmony together. When the cells are living in a state of hatred, they soon start exhibiting that with each other and killing healthy cells in the body. This leads to many forms of auto immune disease. Therefore one should be very careful of one’s thoughts, feelings and emotions. Forgive people, not because they deserve it, but because we need it to stay happy and healthy.
The 700 verses of Bhagavad Gita represent the way of life based on love, wisdom, and intellect that are universal in application regardless of one’s race, religion, caste, creed, region, language, place of birth, etc. One can reach this conclusion by merely going through the few sentences that follow. Even a casual glance will completely change one’s perspective towards life.
Set your heart upon your work; but never on the reward. No one who does good work will ever come to a bad end, either here or in the afterworld. The key to happiness is reduction of desires. If you do not fight for what you want. don’t cry for what you lost. Don’t you worry unnecessarily; why be afraid of death when it is taken for granted? The soul is neither born nor dies. Man is made by his belief; as he believes, so he is. The self-controlled soul, that moves amongst sense objects, free from either attachment or repulsion, wins eternal peace. Calmness, gentleness, silence, self-restraint, and purity: these are the disciplines of the mind. Change is the law of the world; in a moment you become the owner of millions; in another, you become penniless. As you put on fresh new clothes and take off those you’ve worn, you replace your body with a fresh one as a newly born. Fear not, what is not real, never was and never will be. What is real, will always remain and cannot be destroyed. To those who have conquered themselves, the will is a friend; but it is the enemy of those who have not found the self within them. No one should abandon duties just because he sees defects in them inasmuch as every action and every activity is surrounded by defects as fire is surrounded by smoke. Happiness is a state of mind or attitude that has nothing to do with external world. It is better to live one’s own destiny however imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else’s life with perfection. Tat Tvam Asi: The Self in each person is not different from the God. Pleasure from the senses seems like nectar at first, but it is bitter as poison in the end. The gift is pure when it is given from the heart to the right person at the right time and the right place, and we expect nothing in return. Reshape yourself through the power of your will; never let yourself be degraded by self-will. The will is the only friend of the Self, and the will is the only enemy of the Self. When a person responds to the joys and sorrows of others as if they were his own, he has attained the highest state of spiritual union.
Bhushan Lal Razdan, formerly of the Indian Revenue Service, retired as Director General of Income Tax (Investigation), Chandigarh.