As everyone knows, the very tradition of India is vibrant with the spirit of Bhagavad Gita, which inspired many in their march to heights of creativity. Our nation has been living with the Gita right from the time Lord Krishna gave his sermons to Arjuna at Kurukshetra. But, unfortunately, this famous philosophical text and the spiritual manual that guided Indian life down the millennia and the one that down the centuries has been of universal acceptance is still not declared India’s National Scripture. Even court observations too were there on the desirability of the school children getting familiarised with texts like the Gita since that would promote the little ones intellectual acumen, shrewd thinking and balanced intellect, the Samadhi.
Besides, this alone would be the real panacea for all the ills springing from religious disharmony and all fanaticisms. Unlike the Semitic religions centred on monotheism, the religion of India deemed all religions and their Gods equal to its. True, certain religions vilified others’ systems. Eulogising themselves as the only path to God as if others’ systems are incapable of salvaging man, and religions disparaging those not following their systems as heathen that grate on secular minds are commonplace. The statement, “I [God] shall cast into the unbelievers’ hearts terror …” proves threatening to those who worship Gods they like. But the Gita teaches the religion of universal acceptance and to it all forms of worships and all Gods are equal. “Whosoever comes to Me, through whatsoever form, I reach him; all men are struggling through paths which in the end lead to me,” says the Lord of the Gita. Only such a lofty teaching can lead to communal harmony.
Among all the world literatures none could find as all-comprehending a spiritual text as the Gita which waxes eloquent on the fraternity among men and the different streams of thought. It upholds more the bold and sublime philosophy of acceptance among all the sects and creeds than the meek idea of tolerance. Philosophy of monism is cardinal to it; the entire universe with its manifoldness is the manifestation of the One Supreme, the Gita teaches. Upanishadic teachings condensed, the Gita believed in the all-pervading nature of the Supreme which binds all the beings of the universe in its blissful fraternal embrace. Interpreted as a philosophy of war, which the Gita in fact is not, Sri Krishna’s Gita was right telling Arjuna that preaching the philosophy of peace amidst battlefield, is to invite one’s own destruction. But the Gita is to be analysed, setting it against a broader canvass. It is the text of Yoga – union of all kind. All the different types of Yoga are threaded together into a single garland graced with inimitable beauty and perfection in the Gita. Coherence rather than de-coherence at all levels, mental, social, national, international, and what not is the soul of the Gita’s teachings. Interpreted differently and with many emendations, the Gita down the centuries has been shaping the very outlook of our nation. On many occasions our nation stood the test of time with the Gita embraced to its heart. It inspired our freedom fighters, irrespective of all regional differences. Maharashtra’s ‘Father of unrest’ who made patriotism a cult in the early 20th century had his imaginations fired by this text.
To Lokmanya Bala Gangadhar Tilak whose oak like massiveness has left its ever lasting impression on the ever shifting sands of Indian national life, Gita was the air he breathed. Mahayogi Sri Aurobindo had the Gita placed into his hands by the Lord Srikrishna as the guide in his fight for the national independence. It was the sadhana of the Gita, Aurobindo believed, that burnt in him the light of patriotism ever more effulgent. Gita ferried India across the vast and turbulent ocean of freedom movement. One may well conjure up the image of the Father of our nation, walking stick in one hand and the Gita in the other held close to his heart, spearheading its pilgrimage to freedom. To the Mahatma who symbolised the ideal of renunciation Gita gave answers to all the problems of life. Gita was to Gandhiji the holy mother who like a guardian angel took him under her wings of protection. “She has never failed me. When I am in difficulty or distress, I seek refuge in her bosom,” the Mahatma used to reminisce. “If we are in doubt” he further wrote, “as to whether we should do or should not do something or other, all these difficulties can be solved with the help of Mother Gita”. Such was the influence of the Gita under whose protective umbrella Indians and their national leaders found solace from the many scorching mundane heats including foreign domination. And natural it is that the scene of Gitopadesa is well imprinted on the first copy of Indian Constitution signed by all the members of the Constitution making body. Our Constitution falls perfectly in with the spirit of the Gita. Gita lived in the soul of our nation and we revelled in its spirit all throughout. She led us in the past and can lead us in times ahead. It is high time that we declared the Gita our national scripture and its nectar sprinkled to the budding little ones in our schools. It is universal love the Gita teaches and it is what the modern world torn in arms and animosity highly calls for.