What is Bhagavad Gita?
Bhagavad Gita refers to a Hindu scripture written about 2000 years ago. It is composed of 700 verses with rhyming lines which is why many people refer to it as a poem or a song. It is part of “Mahabharata”, a Hindu epic that is considered a very important part of Hindu philosophy and literature. For Hindus, the Bhagavad Gita is a source of wisdom and the truth. The word “bhagavad” means God and the word “gita” means song. Literally, Bhagavad Gita refers to the “song of God”.
Bhagavad Gita or simply “Gita” tells of a story involving Lord Krishna and prince Arjuna. Lord Krishna is revered by Hindus as “Parabrahman” or the manifestation of the Divine Lord. Prince Arjuna meanwhile is a young prince who needed some wisdom for his concerns just before the start of the Kurukshetra War. Included in the Gita text was Lord Krishna’s advises to the young prince on what he should do as a member of royalty and as a warrior. Part of the instructions refers to various Hindu-based philosophies, which many Hindus consider as a basic guide to the Hindu way of life. The young prince who was troubled and angry on the impending war with friends and relatives found wisdom with Lord Krishna as he made his revelation that he himself is the Divine and Supreme Being.
Through the text on Bhagavad Gita, Hindu culture found a model on the ideal bond between a teacher full of experience and wisdom and his student who tries to understand the world around him. In the context of Gita, Lord Krishna is the teacher while Prince Arjuna is the student trying to learn from example and the philosophies of the respected elder. Part of the teachings also involved some form of self-detachment from earthly or worldly things and re-focusing of energies to commit oneself to a spiritual union with the Divine Lord. These teachings are the philosophies taught in various types of yoga including “karma yoga” and “bhakti yoga”.