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Swami Turiyananda On The Essence Of The Gita

The words in Bhagavad Gita are not a poet’s imagination, nor a slogan, but the words of God.

You have asked me to write about the quintessence of the Gita. Perhaps you are aware of what Sri Ramakrishna has said about the Gita. The Master used to say: If one repeats the word ‘Gita’ a few times, he will comprehend its meaning. In other words, when you repeat ‘Gi-ta-Gi-ta-Gi-ta’, it sounds like ‘Ta-gi-Ta-gi-Ta-gi’, which means ‘one who has renounced’. So the quintessence of the Gita is renunciation. In fact, after studying the Gita, one understands that ‘offer everything to God’ is the central teaching of the Gita. Some say that the message of the Gita is: Perform svadharma [one’s duties] in the spirit of nonattachment and offer the fruits of action to God. I say that if one can do this, what more does one need? Bhagavan himself said in the Gita, ‘Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer in sacrifice, whatever you give away, and whatever you practise in the form of austerities, O son of Kunti — do it as an offering to me.’ In other words, don’t keep anything for yourself. But is this an easy task? One has to make a tremendous effort; it does not happen by itself.

The sum and substance of the Gita, according to my view, is: Surrender oneself to God and completely efface the ego. To belong entirely to God — and not to depend in the least on oneself or anyone else — this indeed is the main teaching of the Gita. In whatever way one accomplishes this, one’s life becomes fulfilled. God is very compassionate; if we can depend on him, he will do whatever is necessary for us. Krishna promised in the Gita, ‘My devotee never perishes’.