Contemporary lifestyles are encouraging and motivating people to search within and look for solutions from spiritual sources. The Bhagavad Gita popularly known as the holy text of Hindus is now widely read and valued by people world over as an inspiration for living a wholesome life.
There are many authors who have written on the application of the Bhagavad Gita to modern day living. In 2018 I asked 100 of my clients on why read the Bhagavad Gita and how the text influenced their life. My sample was international. I am outlining the top six life skills conveyed to me.
- Knowing the true self within: there is a hype about understanding one’s authentic self and finding that inner core. Leadership thinking is increasingly focussing on confidence and courage to create transformational work places and transformational societies. The Gita also eludes to the fact that the external world is transient and changeable, therefore the internal stability has to be strong and consistent.
- The Path of Action: The 21st century is experiencing the influence of the millennial and Generation Y mindset towards an increased consciousness of humanitarian and environmental justice and well being. The Gita’s chapter three on karma yoga emphasises sacred action and duty for the benefit of all; higher consciousness and inspired living.
- Human Personality: The qualities of the human mind and personality are categorised in three segments; sattva; (spiritual-wise- peaceful- calm), rajas; (worldly – ambitious – passionate – active – restless), thamas; (indifferent – ignorant – lazy – dull). On the battlefield of kurukshetra where the Gita was declared, Krishna counsels Arjun that human personality has to be dynamic and all living beings have to perform rightful actions. Human actions are driven from these qualities and the outcome is dependent upon the intent of the action. Combination of satvic mindset and rajasic actions deliver optimal results.
- From knowledge to wisdom: Let Be and Let Go are frequent phrases used in contemporary living. Both are important for psychological well being. “The truly wise person is one who recognises inaction to action, action to inaction.” He or she sees that where there is apparent action taking place at the worldly level, there is a parallel inaction internally; similarly when there is no worldly action taking place, there may be considerable action occurring within. These moments of internal stillness instigate wisdom, meaning full understanding of the knowledge.
- The path of Meditation: According to the Gita, there is a natural desire for all humans to be in silence or have some quiet time. This can be conscious or unconscious, and many who experience this deep silence find it refreshing. Research by the Centre for Healthy Minds has found that silence answers the questions that are not answered in any other way or by any other means. The systematic method that leads one to the deepest state of silence is called meditation. Meditation is now widely accepted as a process that transforms the brain to experience a joyous life and expansion is all aspects of living. Of course, the increasing popularity of quantum physics expands further in relation to the mastery of the mind and the connection with the energy field of possibilities.
- Governance and Ethics: The last verse of the Gita refers to the welfare, wealth, victory and unwavering justice. In practice the verse refers to the confluence, in each person of two energies needed to achieve total societal well being in the context of governance and ethics. The first is the energy of yoga, vision and spirituality and the second is the energy of action. The combination of these energies working together for a person manifest as contemplation, compassion, confidence, courage and citizenship.
“What the outstanding person does, others will try to do. The standards such people create will be followed by the whole world.” Sri Krishna
References: Perennial Psychology of the Bhagavad Gita, Swami Rama; the Bhagavad Gita, A Walkthrough for Westerners Jack Hawley; Essence of the Bhagavad Gita Swami Satyamitranand Giri