An Indian Civilizational Perspective

Bhagwad Gita is not a Message. Not a book. It is a Process.

Unlike popular belief and suggestions by the great “thinkers” and intellectuals, Bhagwad Gita is not a message.  It is certainly not a book.  It is a process.  A process of raising consciousness.

If it was a book, it would have been very easy.  Krishna would have thrust the book into Arjun’s hands at night and asked him to read and come prepared to fight the Mahabharat in the morning.  Why fret?  Why spend time in “Viraat Roop” etc?

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If it was a message, then Sanjay heard it first hand.  Dhritrashtra heard it second hand.  None of them are known as enlightened beings.

If Moksha is the final goal of Gita, and if the message didn’t lead the first hand listening to the message to reach enlightenment, then it is obvious that either Gita is not what it is supposed to be, or it is more than what we think it is.

Spiritual Liberation is not in words.  It is not in books.  It is in transformation.  And Krishna selected only ONE person for that work.  Not Yudhister, not Bheem, not Bhishma, but Arjun.

Our problem is that none of us wants to be Arjun.  None of wants to be taken through a “process”… but everyone wants to have a Gita.  It cannot happen so.  If books could create Spiritual liberation, then Greeks of yore would have been the most enlightened people!  We all know that they were into intellectual juggling as opposed to real liberation.

To know Bhagwad Gita is not easy.  It shouldn’t be.  For, then why would you need Krishna for it?  If the real essence of Gita was in its words, then everyone reading and lecturing on Gita could be a Krishna.  Sadly for the preachers, and thankfully for the humanity, it doesn’t work that way.  Unless you have reached the consciousness of Krishna, you cannot understand the import of Gita in any way.

In Yoga Vashishta, Sage Vashishta discusses the entire “message” of Gita with Ram.  He says how Krishna will share it with Arjun in the next Yuga.  The Sadhana that Ram was being taken through couldn’t have been complete without the process of Gita being complete between Him and Sage Vashishta.  Gita happens where there is consciousness high enough to be divine.

Similarly, when Ramana Maharishi took people through the transformational process, Gita happened.  When Naren was transformed into Swami Vivekananda, Ramakrishna made Gita happen.  If Gita was an intellectual pursuit, then Naren was more than equipped!  Truth is he wasn’t.  Until Ramakrishna had worked on him, Swami Vivekananda hadn’t blossomed as Arjuna had.  In that blossoming, Krishna’s Gita happens.  For, no grammar and no recitation can make or break Gita.  It is the Song of that which is manifest and that which isn’t.  It is NOT a Song that can be sung.  It is a Song that can dissolve the one who has the ability to immerse in it.

Reading is easy, for you are bigger than the word you read.  Listening is easy, for you listen what your senses can pick up.  Immersing is very tough, for it happens when you and your senses are no more.. it  dissolves your being.  In that lies the melody and the beat of the manifest and the unmanifest.  Krishna’s Gita resides there.  It is the process of being a listener.  A receiver.  Prepared for complete dissolution.  Gita happens to those who are willing to put  their entire existence on the line!  Anything less shouldn’t be worth having a Krishna as the teacher.

Featured Image Source: Sadhguru.org

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24 Comments
  1. Simran Kaur says

    A very thoughtful and a justified write up. To make something a habit, we must learn and it’s a process. Likewise, Geeta’s preaching is not to read and know but to practice.

    1. Desh Kapoor says

      Thanks, Simran! My thought is that you can practice if you know. The trick here is that those who read are not those who can understand what Krishna is doing without reaching his consciousness. So raise your consciousness, Gita will happen eventually.

  2. Matheikal says

    Isn’t that true about any religious book: unless it becomes a transformative process it is useless?

    1. Desh Kapoor says

      Is it? Transformation is the job of the one who takes you through it. I have met only one in my life.

      1. matheikal says

        Who is that one?

        I have been reading quite a few of your posts and I find them quite funny and interesting too. You seem to have some goal in writing and Bernard Shaw would love to hug you as much as i because like Shaw I too think there’s no use to do any job without a purpose.

        I find literature much more inspiring than any book of literature. I have read the Gita, the Upanishads, the Bible and writings of quite a few teachers like Aurobindo and Rajneesh. [The last two may sound like an odd pair and yet not so if you know them well enough!]

        I find Joseph Conrad as enlightening as the Mahabharata. I find Narendra Modi as stupid as Hitler. I hope you get the connect.

        We can make India an enlightened country only if we learn to go beyond religion. Religion is backkick. Has always been. I’m sure you know history.

        1. Matheikal says

          …than any book of religion…
          Sorry for the hurry

        2. Desh Kapoor says

          Judgments without nuance is the work of a lazy man. When one is prejudiced, it is ONLY then that one slots and boxes people up in categories convenient to him. Anyone who has the humility and patience to look at any thing or anyone with some attention would see that every creation – whether of man or nature – is UNIQUE. To gloss over uniqueness and club everything in categories is the first step of those who have their own agenda.

          And, Tom, ideological prejudice is not the sole preserve of the religious but also of atheists. For, both are BELIEVERS. One believes god is there, the other believes god is not there. A person who looks at things for what they are, believes nothing. He just celebrates the unique work in this existence.

          I can say that I have met a rat and a hippo and both look like the Martian alien who hops around in the woods nearby – and who sounds like Nancy Pelosi when she gets excited. As weird and interesting as it may sound, the fact will be that I have not really met a rat – but my projection of it; just like I haven’t met anyone else except my projection of them via my senses.

          As for a country beyond religion – well, India WAS a country without a religion before the first Christians and Muslims set foot here. Those who wanted to believe, believed, and those who wanted to seek seeked. It is only when someone with a “Statement of Finality” comes to a society of “Open Source Spirituality” that the trouble starts. “There is no god but Allah…” (the Kalma); “Jesus is the ONLY Savior” (Creed) – are “Statements of Finality” and exclusivity.

          When a society provides freedom of work to a Buddha, Nanak, Osho, Ramana Maharishi, Ved Vyas, Ravidas, and Kabir- to come up with their own solutions to the larger question of Life, then it is not a religious society but one which encourages multiplicity of views, experimentation, spiritual work and opinions.

          So let us learn to look at things with some objectivity. If you want a society without religion, then you need a society which celebrates all ideologies which aren’t cannibalistic. Thats what those with statements of finality do to an open source society.

        3. Matheikal says

          Thank you. I’m amused.

        4. Desh Kapoor says

          Awesome! I knew you were just rambling and having fun. 🙂

  3. sreedhar bhattaram says

    Very rightly interpreted, Desh!

    1. Desh Kapoor says

      Thanks, Sreedharji!

  4. jyotirmoy sarkar says

    i have always seen Gita as a process, good to know about ur thought. but the problem is very less number of us try or follow the paths and the philosophy that have been shown through Gita, i must admit its very tough to do as we are very much attracted to this mundane world.

  5. Deepti Verma says

    Rightly said, The Bhagwad Gita is a process and I feel it is also a journey where you start as a naive and understand things as you move ahead

    1. Desh Kapoor says

      Thanks, Deepti! Yes, it is indeed a journey that every Spiritual seeker takes.

  6. Shaivi says

    Well thought. All students in a class read the same books, but follow different paths. Some may wanna cram up the text for attaining good marks while some focus on the real learning to have a positive impact on their lives. The 2nd path is indeed tough but that’s what the books are intended for. Bhagwatam is a way of life and those living it enjoy the journey instead of fretting over how far is the destination.

    1. Desh Kapoor says

      “Bhagwatam is a way of life and those living it enjoy the journey instead of fretting over how far is the destination.” very well said, Shaivi! I enjoyed your comment! Thanks.

  7. Deepa Gopal Sunil says

    I have heard that each time one reads the Gita, we come across a new message…extremely enlightening a process indeed! I think it stays true about all the religious texts…one just needs to open up 🙂

    1. Desh Kapoor says

      So very true, Deepa! Thanks for such a reflective comment! 🙂

    2. matheikal says

      Each time you read any good poem, you will find new meaning, Deepa. Try that 🙂

  8. Jyotika says

    Beautifully done! Dear Desh, this piece of wisdom is a clear prompt to fact that everybody wants a hypothetically perfect life. But the irony is too few know this art! And these few are the ones who truly know “the process”. Indeed, the process holds true for any and every religion but the believers must enlighten themselves with the fact that merely reading a holy book does not make them pious leading a happy life, it is only possible by following the process… the process to change – that’s when the real transformation happens!

    1. Desh Kapoor says

      Dear Jyotika – thanks! The thing is that Spiritual seeking can only start when belief has ended. Then and only then can you seek freely. On the Spiritual path, you are either a Seeker or Realized. There is no other state. So, Spiritual enlightenment – which has nothing to do with wisdom etc – is outside of religion and so has nothing to do with religion at all. That is why I reject the claim that “all religions teach Spirituality” – they don’t. The very fact that the religions – which is but a euphemism for the Abrahamic faiths (for Eastern mystic traditions weren’t belief systems) – look for believers shows that they are devoid of even rudimentary understanding of Spiritual work. This distinction is very important and has to be looked at very clearly and ruthlessly, or the whole essence of work like Bhagwad Gita gets lost. 🙂 Cheers and thanks for such an interesting and thought provoking comment!

  9. upasna says

    I am moved and want to be a part of process someday…I pray that my journey begin soon or I wonder if the journey has started or ongoing? How will I know?
    Thanks for throwing a light on true meaning of Gita.

    1. Desh Kapoor says

      Hi Upasna – If the pain to know the truth of your being has arisen in you, the source will arrive as well. When one wants to make that journey, the Guru appears. For me it happened when I met Sadhguru after running from him for years. For me he is Shiva. You keep looking in and the right Guru will appear.

  10. Subhodeep Mukhopadhyay says

    Brilliant! Very well articulated. Unless the inner transformation happens – unless there is an inner yajna (to use the Indic metaphor), all scriptural knowledge is merely words.

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