At some point or other each one of us might have enquired about God. Might have tried to know Him through different philosophers, might have read scriptures like Upanishads, Bible, Kuran etc. In this article let’s reconnoitre the way to understand God, also more fundamentally is there any benefit of understanding God and His instructions.
Bhagavad Gita unlike other scriptures of the world is not by any scholar or prophet but this contains the teachings of God Himself. Nobody is greater than or equal to God.
Considering this. Even if someone endeavours to read Gita he becomes puzzled because in the market there are hundreds and thousands of Gita’s each giving its own different interpretation. Actually to explain Gita one requires some qualification.
What is that qualification? First and foremost the person giving interpretation should come in a disciplic succession or paramparā. In Gita Lord Krishna Himself says that He gave this knowledge to Vivasvān or Sun God and he passed it on to Manu, and Manu passed it on to Ikshvāku and in this way the knowledge was transmitted.
Also, the Vedic scriptures say. ‘mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ’ [Cc. Madhya 17.186]. We are not perfect. Therefore we have to follow in the footsteps of the perfect. In ordinary life also, in the political field, to develop, one has to accept a party. The aim is the same, to serve the country, to develop the country, but still, there are parties. Similarly, the aim is the same: to understand what our relationship with God is, but the development is made by different parties. And the parties must be bona fide.
As Krishna says, His party:
imaṁ vivasvate yogaṁ
proktavān aham avyayam
vivasvān manave prāha
manur ikṣvākave ‘bravīt
imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ
So here we see that Krishna did not leave the knowledge for anyone to interpret in whatever way they wanted but is saying that we should take it in proper parampara system.
And if we understand Bhagavad-gītā as some so-called scholar understands, then we are wasting our time.
Just like Kheer or sweet rice is a very nice food, but if one adulterates it with some grains of sand, it is spoiled.
Similarly, Bhagavad-gītā is the science of God, the spiritual science. But it is being adulterated by many people.
(Srila Prabhupada a pure devotee comes under the bonafide disciplic succession of Brahma Madhva Gaudiya Paramparā and hence his interpretation of Gita is bonafide.)
And then comes the question if the reader should also have some qualification to understand Gita. In Gita, Krishna answers this question by revealing that He selected Arjuna as the disciple of the renovated paramparā system because Arjuna was a devotee (bhakto ‘si priyo ‘si me [Bg. 4.3], rahasyam etad uttamam). Hence to be a devotee is the most important qualification to know the mystery of Gita.
Further, the question arises what is the information that one has to get from Gita after acquiring the qualification of being a devotee and what is the benefit of getting that knowledge?
Krishna aiming at Arjuna, is instructing the whole world about what is the constitutional position of the living entities, what is Krishna’s position? What is this material nature? What is the time factor? What should be our activities? etc
Basically everyone, all over, is trying to become controller instead of being controlled. And as soon as we agree to become controlled by God, there is peace and actually, that is also called mukti.
Mukti means if you give up the artificial endeavour to become predominator and become situated in your original position, being predominated. Our position is to serve Krishna, and by His pleasure, we shall be pleased. There are so many instances.
yathā taror mūla-niṣecanena
prāṇopahārāc ca yathendriyāṇāṁ
tathaiva sarvārhaṇam acyutejyā
Just like if you pour water in the root of the tree, all the branches, twigs, flowers, leaves—everything becomes nourished automatically. Similarly, if you feed the stomach, then all the different limbs and parts of the body automatically become nourished. Similarly, Krishna is the origin or root of everything. Aham ādir hi devānām [Bg 10.2]. ‘ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate’ [Bg. 10.8]. Therefore if we try to understand Krishna, if we try to serve Krishna, then our life will be successful.
Because ultimately the mission of life is to get out of the cycle of birth, death, old age and disease or in other words to cease accepting a material body, one after another. We are wandering throughout the whole universe on different planets and different species of life. We are spirit souls. We don’t require to accept this material body. But we have accepted it, somehow or other.
If we want to become again originally situated in our constitutional position, then we must understand Bhagavad-gītā as it is. We must try to understand Krishna as He is. Then our life will be successful. ‘tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti kaunteya’ [Bg. 4.9]. and we will go back home back to Godhead. And all this is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā.
Hopefully, we become fortunate enough and study Bhagavad-gītā as it is and become successful in the mission of our life.