Why should one read Gita?
When people are questioned about reading Gita, some immediately fend off themselves with various arguments. Some say, “Well, it was written many thousand years ago. Is it relevant in today’s 21st century?’ or ‘I thought we are supposed to read Gita when we become old’ or ‘It’s too complicated to read’ or ‘Yes, I agree that I should read. But, we are too busy to read it’.
This article attempts to clear away these misconceptions by asking questions instead to know what Gita can offer. Ask yourself whether you have answers for these. These questions are answered in Gita. Instead of providing answers, I will offer questions that Gita has answers for. Gita has the answers to all fundamental questions that a HUMAN BEING need to know for a sensible living in this world as per Vedic scriptures. Well, one might say many people are living in this world without reading Gita. Yes, that’s true. But, these answers will equip oneself to have a LIFE and not just a living.
Gita is the record of the most intelligent conversation that ever took place in the history of civilization. This conversation took in the form of questions and answers. Gita is venerated by people for more than five thousand years. It’s probably the single most read books than any other in the history of civilization. Millions of copies have been distributed since centuries, if not in the billions. All the great sages like Vyasadeva, Narada Muni, Madhvachraya, Sankaracharya, Ramanujacharya etc recommended people to read it make it part of their life. Many modern scientists like Albert Einstein, Newton read it and praised it. The Politicians, Social reformers, Brahmanas, Gurus, workers, carpenters, actors, householders, almost people from all walks of life have benefited from Gita. Although, most following doesn’t automatically qualify it as truth but one should at least give the benefit of the doubt. Just like, the proof of the pudding is in tasting it, we can’t come to a conclusion by arguing for days about it. Reading Gita and trying to understand it is the only way to know about it.
I have divided the questions into few sections of similar interest. The questions in some sections might look similar in other sections. Nevertheless the idea is to present various possible questions from various points of view. More questions make things more clear. I would say if you have any one question below that you are not clear about the answer,then you are the prospective candidate for reading Gita. Some questions may sound too naïve, nevertheless these naïve questions might have different answers from different people. It’s important to know Gita’s point of view and not our own answers. That means one need to be willing to throw away their own ideas and are ready to explore the ideas of Gita. The purpose of this article is to arouse interest in reading Gita and not challenging the readers with tricky questions.
Without much delay, Lets start firing the questions.
Who am I? What is my identification? I am Indian, American, European, Australian etc? What happens to me after death? Am I dead forever? Is there a life after this one? What happens to other people after death? Why am I in this world? How did I come to this world? Is there any purpose in life? Have I just been made up of the few chemicals as scientists say? What is my value? What is the benefit I can give others? How can I be happy all the time? Do I get happiness by collecting more things? How can I handle the ups and downs in life? How to have good relation with everyone? How can I love others? What is the best behavior I need to show? What is my relationship with others? How can I succeed all the time in life? How do I make myself healthy? What food should be eaten? What charity should I give? How can I have strong determination to succeed in life? Is there a way not to die? What is the soul? What are its qualities? How can I be self-realized? What is my duty after self-realized? What are symptoms of self-realized person? Do I lose anything by realizing myself? What do I gain by realizing myself? Is it possible to be self-realized all the time? Do I merge into something after I realize myself? Do I need to change anything to realize myself? How much time it takes to realize myself as a soul? What are the obstacles to self-realization? Will self-realization disturb my existing life style? Will I go crazy after self-realization? What are the powers of the soul? What is the mind? What is intelligence? What is ego? How do I control the mind? How do I renounce my attachments? How do I prepare myself for death? What are emotions? How do I express myself? What is self-confidence? How do I gain self-confidence? How can I be emotionally intelligent? How do I become free from fear? How do I become peaceful all the time? How can I be good all the time? Am I god? Do I become God after self-realized? Is everyone God? Do I need to know about myself? What more I need to know about myself? What happens if I don’t know about myself? What are disadvantages of not knowing ourselves? Is there past life? Why I don’t remember a past life? Why one has to die?
Influence of people and the environment surrounding us/Material Nature
How does material energy influence us? Why do I feel the impulse to do something undesirable? Why I am happy sometimes and distressed other times? Why do I get angry sometimes? Why do I get temper? What is lust? How lust affects us? What is the source of all anxieties? What is the cause of all sins? Why some people are violent? Why some people are killing others? Why some people act mad? How can I handle stress in life? Why some people are insensitive or cold? Why some people are shameless? Why some people are always dirty? Why some people don’t listen to good advice? Why people hate each other? Is religion a reason for people to fight? Why there are so many religions? Are all religions same? What are different results if followed different religions? Do I need to change my religion? What is the purpose of religion? How can people tolerate other religions? Why some people so narrow-minded? How to make people broad-minded?
Influence of our actions/Karma
Why does this happen to me? What can I do so as not to happen again? Why some people try to harm me? Is there a reaction to everything I do? How can I become free from karma? How can I make good karma all the time? Why some people are born rich? Why some people are born blind? Why some people suffer more than others? Is it just by a chance? Is there a free will? Is there destiny? What is the relationship between destiny and free will? What is the best use of free will? Am I destined to think every thought? Are we completely under control of God? Am I not supposed to enjoy my life? What is the use of life without enjoyment? Do past life actions influence me? Do I enjoy or suffer my karma in this life only? Do I carry them over to the next life? Who decides what to enjoy or suffer for my actions? Why I had to take birth? Why I am suffering? Can this suffering be avoided? What makes up good karma? How to execute the work perfectly? Why good people suffer? Why bad people enjoy so much? Isn’t this unfair?
Who is God? Does he have a name? Is he formless? Does he have a place to stay? How does he interact with us? How does he take care of us? Why did he create us? Why does he allow suffering of people? Why does he create us first and then let us suffer? Is God perfect? Does God make mistakes? Is he like one among us? Is he influenced by his karma? Does he stay alone? Does he have a life? What are his qualities? Does he have attachments like us? Does he feel for us? Does he love us? What is the relationship between us and God? Does he have the same relationship with everyone? Does he forget us? Can he remember us in various lives? Can he speak my language? Can he understand me? Does he take care of me only if I worship him? Does it matter what religion I follow to understand him? How do I realize God? How do I see God everywhere and in everything? Why God is visible to his devotees alone? Why does he take special care of his devotees? Is he partial? How to love God? How can we know him? Is there one God? Why there are many Gods listed in Hindu scriptures? Who is Supreme? Is there result the same if we worship any one of them? Why create confusion by creating so many Gods? Is there any incarnation of God today? What about so many incarnations that people worship; are these people Gods too? How to find out who God is? Where to look answers for knowing who is God and who is not?
Of course, this list is not complete by no means and Gita answers many more questions than one can possibly ask.
One of the questions people ask about Gita is, there are so many Gita editions and which one shall I read? To that I would recommend reading Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad Gita As It Is by Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. They are available online for reading. Please click here to read.