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Why Bhagavad Gita Is A Timeless Text?

The Bhagavad Gita is a timeless text, dealing as it does with the very global condition of man, the fact of his suffering. Adi Shankaracharya’s seminal commentary establishes, articulates, the essence of Bhagavan Sri Krishna’s siddhanta for attaining moksha (freedom from suffering) – unattached action, nishkama karma, leads to purification of the self, chitta Shuddhi, which leads to wise indifference, vairagya, which in turn results in the development of a discriminating faculty, viveka. This leads to pure knowledge, visuddha jnana, which then leads to freedom from suffering, moksha.

Dhritarashtra, in the very first shloka, makes a distinction between my sons (self) and sons of Pandu (other) – and this is the cause of his misery. Arjuna on the other hand says ‘they are our people.’ Is he wiser than his elder uncle in considering his ‘opponents’ also as his own people? No, obviously not, for as Sri Krishna tells him later, the problem lies in getting trapped in the dichotomies. Once you call somebody ‘our’ there is room of ‘not-our’ and the misery begins.

Even not wanting something is a desire and it binds (2.38). Arjuna is afflicted with grief, and he is paralyzed, his will to act is paralyzed, he becomes dharmasammurhacetah (2.7), unable to decide in matters of dharma, matters involving questions of right and wrong. His is an ethical dilemma.

Arjuna’s inability to act, to decide between right and wrong stems from grief and distraction that stems from cognitions of me/mine cause by oppositions affinity/distance. He wants no kingdom and they, the Kauravas, are mine. Why then fight and kill?

This is a blind alley, the kind all of us walk in some time or the other. Bhagavan Sri Krishna says the concept of dharma (duty) is the way out. Dharma is the overriding category of Hindu sociological thought. We have to perform the enjoined action, the enjoined duty and it must be performed above and beyond our own needs, prejudices, predilections and desires. Now, we are told by the same text that action binds and we have to look for freedom from bondage. But is the action performed with some personal motive that binds. Men perform all actions in self-interest and for self-aggrandizement. That way all ritual, action of the karma kanda binds. But, and this is important, enjoined action performed for the welfare of all, liberates one from dichotomies, helps one to transcend the oppositions and become stabilized in the self, equable to both in joy and sorrow.