Bhagavat Gita

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Mon Sep 10 12:23:51 CDT 2001

On Mon, 10 Sep 2001, Jaldhar H. Vyas wrote:

[Note although it appeared to come from me, this is actually a forwarded
message form Balu Ramaswamy.]

>    Among the various Gitas, such as Siva Gita,Avadhuta Gita, Guru Gita,
> Ashtavakra Gita,etc., why Bhagavat Gita has gained a significant place?
> what is the upadesa that is not imparted in those Gitas  found in Bhagavat
> Gita?

Personally I don't think it is that the message is different, but the
context.  Theory is important but it also has to be put into practice.
How are the tenets of Advaita Vedanta to be applied in less than ideal
situations.  Consider:

1.  Arjuna is not perfect.  At times he exhibits fear, vanity and jealousy
(e.g. see Ekalavya episode) and other less than admirable traits.

2.  He is not a Rshi conversing with another Rshi in an ashrama in the
Himalayas.  He is a warrior five minutes away from a massive, bloodthirsty
battle which will change the fate of an entire nation.  He has neither the
training nor the time for deep philosophical investigations.

3.  Bhagawan is present but in "disguise."  It is hard for a mere mortal
like Arjuna to get a clear idea of how to act.  And the elders who could
guide him like Bhishma, Drona, Vidura etc are either unavailable or
fighting on the other side.

Don't we face similiar problems and distractions in our lives?  Even if we
have committed to a Dharmic aren't there so many obstacles that prevent us
from following the dictates of the shastras?

If Advaita Vedanta had just offered an interesting description of the
human condition it might have achieved a modest amount of popularity but
the reason it speaks to us today is because it also provides a practical
method for surmounting the problems which afflict everyone of us in

This is the importance of the Gita:  it shows us how in the absence of
perfection we can at least do the best we can.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>

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