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Gita - Introduction

Dear netters,

As requested by many, I will be posting the summary of each chapter of gita
every week, in this news group. To catch up with SCI, I will post one chapter
every 3rd day, to start with. These summaries are done from the book  
"Bhagavad Gita As It Is", by His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami
Prabhupad, the Founder Acharya of the International Society for Krishna
Consciousness. These books are available in the Hare Krsna
temples/ISKCON centres all over the world. If you have any points to clarify 
please post the questions in this group, rather than mailing them to me 
directly, so that everyone is benefitted.

Yours in service of Lord Sri Krishna,
Mrs. Jayashri Ravishankar.
Here goes the introduction to gita:                      

                      hare krishna hare krishna 
                      krishna krishna hare hare
                      hare   rama   hare   rama 
                      rama   rama   hare   hare

Bhagavad Gita is also known as Gitopanisad.  It is the essence of all 
vedic knowledge.  We have to receive this knowledge by the proper 
parampara (disciplic succession).  We must accept Bhagavad Gita 
without interpretation, without deletion and without our own whimsical 
participation in the matter.  The Gita should be taken as the most 
perfect presentation of the vedic knowledge.

The speaker of Bhagavad Gita is Lord Sri Krishna.  He is mentioned on 
every page of Gita as the Supreme Personality of Godhead.  This is 
also confirmed by many authorities of vedic knowledge like Sankaracharya, 
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, etc.  The Lord Himself accepts this in the 
Gita and He is accepted as such in Brahma-samhita and in all puranas 
especially the Srimad Bhagavatam.  Because Bhagavad Gita is spoken by 
the Supreme Personality of Godhead one need not read any other vedic 

Bhagavad Gita was first spoken to the sun-god and the sun-god explained 
to Manu and Manu explained to Iksavaku and in that way by disciplic 
succession, one speaker after another this has been coming down.  But in 
the course of time it has been lost.  Consequently, the Lord has to 
speak it again, this time to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kuruksetra. He 
tells Arjuna that He is relating this supreme secret to him because 
Arjuna is His devotee and friend.  Therefore, Bhagavad Gita is best 
understood by a person who has qualities similar to Arjuna's, ie, he 
must be a devotee in direct relationship with the Lord.  Every living 
being has a particular relationship with the Lord eternally.  This is 
called svarupa.  By the process of devotional service one can revive 
that svarupa.  Sri Caintanya Mahaprabhu explained that the svarupa or 
constitutional position of the living being is the rendering of service
to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.  All living entities whatever may   
be the type of the body or whatever may be the religion is rendering 
service to someone or other.  Therefore rendering of service is sanatana
dharma (eternal occupation).  This dharma could be made trancendental by
rendering loving service unto the Supreme Lord.

Bhagavad Gita should be taken up in the spirit of devotion.  One should 
not think that he is equal to Krishna nor should he think that Krishna 
is an ordinary personality or even a great personality.  Lord Sri 
Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.  So according to the 
statements of Gita, a person who is trying to understand the Gita, 
should atleast theoritically accept Sri Krishna as the Supreme 
Personality of Godhead and with that submissive spirit he could 
understand the Gita.  

The purpose of Bhagavad Gita is to deliver mankind from the nescience 
of material existence.  Gita clearly explains the five elements, viz,
isvara (Supreme Lord), jiva (living entity), prakrti (nature), kala 
(time) and karma (activity).  Out of these, Lord, living entity, 
material nature and time are eternal.  The manifestation of the world is
not accepted as false; it is accepted as real but temporary.  It stays 
for a while and then disappears.  But again the cycle is working 
eternally.  However, karma is not eternal.  We are enjoying or suffering
according to our past karma.  Gita explains what sort of activities we 
should adopt to gain relief from the effect of karma.

Living entities are parts and parcels of Krishna.  He lives in the heart 
of every living being as Paramatma.  Therfore, our consciousness is 
transcendental as that of the Lord's.  But, at the present moment, it is 
materially contaminated ie we are called conditioned.  Hence we are 
subjected to the following defects: (1) sure to commit mistakes 
(2) invariably illusioned (3) has the tendency to cheat others and
(4) limited by imperfect senses.  False consciousness is exhibited under 
the impression that I am a product of this material nature.  One who 
wants to become liberated, must first of all learn that he is not this 
material body.  Mukthi means liberation from the contaminated 
consciousness of this material world and situation in pure consciousness.
In pure consciousness our actions will be dovetailed to the will of 
isvara and that will make us happy.  All the instructions of Bhagavad 
Gita are intended to awaken this pure consciousness.  

Gita states that the living entity (soul) is eternal.  We keep changing 
only our material bodies.  No planet in the material universe is free 
from the four principles of material existence namely birth, death, 
disease and old age. This applies even to the highest planet Brahmaloka.
Therefore, in the Gita worship of different demigods is not approved. We
need to worship only the Supreme Lord because our ultimate goal is to 
return to His abode. Lord Krishna assures that those who return to His 
abode will never come back again to this material world.

Bhagavad Gita also states that one who think of Krishna at the time 
of death goes back to Him.  Therefore, if we always engage our mind in 
reading the vedic literatures, then it is possible for us to remember 
the Lord at the time of death.  Thus this life is the preparation for 
the next life.  At the same time, the Lord does not advise us simply to 
remember Him and give up our occupation.  Gita teaches us how to absorb 
the mind and intelligence in the thought of the Lord. Lord Caitanya also
advises that one should practice chanting the names of the Lord always
as the names of the Lord and the Lord are nondifferent.  

If one adopts the principles enuciated in Bhagavad Gita he can make his 
life perfect and make a permanent solution to all the problems of life.  
This is the sum and substance of Bhagavad Gita.  The doors of this 
knowledge are open to everyone.  All classes of man can approach Lord
Krishna by thinking of Him, for hearing and thinking of Him are possible
for everyone.

In conclusion, Bhagavad Gita is a transendental literature which one 
should read very carefully.  If one properly follows the instructions of
Gita (1) one will be freed from all fears in this life and one's next 
life will be spiritual (2) by the grace of Lord the reactions of his 
past misdeeds will not act upon him.

Gitamahatmya states: Let there be one scripture for the whole world -
Bhagavad Gita, one God - Sri Krishna, One mantra - the chanting of His 
holy name "hare krishna hare krishna krishna krishna hare hare hare   
rama hare rama rama rama hare hare" and let there be one work only - the 
service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

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