1.1 Be In Harmony With God, Yourself and Society
The Bhagavad Gita teaches us about BEING IN HARMONY with God, Oneself and Society.
To be in HARMONY means to be free of conflicts and pain. So Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita teaches us about being free from conflicts and pain in our relationship with God, ourself and society - how? By showing us a way to live our life such that we become free of conflicts and pain.
Our way of life is usally based on the habits we learned in our families, our understanding of ourself and others. If our understanding of ourself and of others is off the mark, then our way of life will bring us conflicts and pain.
Let us understand how our understanding of ourself and others can affect us.
Our responses depend on what we see
If you see an old woman, you would perhaps offer to help her cross the street.
If you see a young woman, you would not try to help her cross the road – you might just talk to her.
The way we look at ourself or others is called as a paradigm. The problem with paradigms is that WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET.
Paradigms are like glasses. When you have incomplete paradigms about yourself or life in general, it is like wearing glasses with a wrong prescription. That lens affects how you see everything else.
So we should ask ourself is the way I am looking at myself helping me or hurting me?
In Mahabharata there is a story told. Duryodhana the eldest of the Kauravas, was complaining to Krishna about how bad people are, how they never respect us, how they act impolitely and rudely etc etc. Duryodhana gives a long list of complaints against the people. So Lord Krishna calls both Duryodhana and Yudhistira, the eldest of the Pandavas together. He tells Duryodhana that you go into Hastinapur and find one good man for me. He tells Yudhisthira that you go to Hastinapura and find one bad man for me. Both of them go to do what they have been told. Both return empty handed. Duryodhana was not able to find one good person and Yudhisthira was not able to find one bad person. Duryodhana reported to Lord Krishna, that I was not able to find one good person – whoever I found as good, I always found something bad was there in that person. Yudhishtira reported that I was not able to find one bad person – whoever was bad, I found that there were some good qualities in that person.
See the irony! Both of them had gone to Hastinapura – the place was the same – yet because of their outlook, their paradigm being different, each came back empty-handed. Yudhishtira’s paradigm helped him to see the good in others. And Duryodhana’s paradigm never helped him to see good in anyone.
Duryodhana could have turned to Lord Krishna and told him that ‘You are a good man’. But he did not. At least if he did not find Lord Krishna a good person, he could have said ‘I am a good fellow – you can have me’. But he did not see himself either as a good person. And so he could not find a single good person in the whole of Hastinapur.
So see how powerful paradigms can be. If you have decent, wholesome and meaningful paradigms of yourself and the world that is what you will see and that is what you will relate to and live your life accordingly. You see and relate to others using your mind, so it is important to keep your mind clean and fill it with noble paradigms.
Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita tells us the greatest secret .. that HAPPINESS & GOODNESS is the secret about you.
Like a sandalwood stick is fragrant by nature. It is natural for sandalwood to be fragrant. Sandalwood gives out fragrance. So too goodness is the truth about you. Goodness is natural to you.
There is a law in nature that everything likes to/ wants to get back to its own nature. For example, water’s natural state is to be at room-temperature. You have gone to a hill station in the monsoon..
Now what is that we want all the time? We want to be happy. And we want to be happy all the time. That itself proves that happiness is our natural state.
Nobody wants sadness. Sadness is like a foreign body in the body. When a foreign particle gets into your eyes how hard your eye tries to get rid of it by watering. So too when we are sad … sadness is foreign to us … we want to get rid of it as quickly as possible … and we strive hard to get back to being happy. Which shows us that happiness is our natural state.
And where there is happiness there is goodness.
Then why is it that people do not act out of their goodness? Because they do not perceive themselves as good. We saw earlier that it is your paradigm about yourself that makes you what you are.
Again let us see the example of sandalwood. Sandalwood is naturally fragrant. Yet when it is left in water for a long time, it begins to stink. IN association with something other than itself, like water – it begins to stink – that is because the outer layer begins to decay and rot and that rot gives out a stink. Now when you rub the sandalwood for sometime, the rot goes away and again the natural fragrance of the sandalwood comes out. The sandalwood never lost its fragrance. The fragrance never went away – it was only hidden by the rot.
So also goodness is the truth about you. Like Gold is bright and has natural brightness – so too GOODNESS is natural to you, GOODNESS is the truth about you.
1.1.1 Self-Growth is Inside Out
What is the purpose of life then? The purpose of life is to GROW to BE THE GOOD PERSON THAT YOU ARE. How?
By doing GOOD ACTIONS
Saying TRUTHFUL AND PLEASING WORDS
Thinking NOBLE and GREAT thoughts
Our growth as a person is about bringing out our goodness through our actions, words and deeds.
You can have different goals like ‘I want to be a cricketer’, I want to be a scientist, I want to be a computer engineer, I want to be a doctor, I want to be a pilot – in achieving each of these goals you never lose sight of being a good person, a good human being. How? By bringing out the goodness in yourself. I want to be a good human being who could be a cricketer, or a scientist or a computer engineer, or a doctor, or a teacher, or an engine driver, or an electrician, or a plumber, or a musician, or an artist etc.
So in the journey of your life it is important how you look at yourself. If you look at yourself as GOOD, you will find yourself being good.
SELF-GROWTH is INSIDE-OUT not outside-in.
Solutions begin inside and travel outside.
If you want to have a happy relationships with your parents, be the kind of person who they can trust – be responsible for your actions.
If you want more friend and if you want to be trusted, be trustworthy.
Change Begins With You
If you want to make a change in your life, the place to begin is yourself, not with your parents, your brothers and sisters, your teachers, your friends etc.
All change begins with you. Nobody can stop you when you want to change. Self-growth is inside out. Not outside in.
When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world.
As I grew older and wiser I realised the world would not change.
And decided to shorten my sights somewhat and change only my country. But it too seemed immovable.
As I entered my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I sought to change only my family, those closest to me, but alas they would have none of it.
And now here I lie on my death bed and realize (perhaps for the first time) that if only I’d changed myself first, then by example I may have influenced my family and with their encouragement and support I may have bettered my country, and who knows I may have changed the world.
This is the first message of LORD KRISHNA in the Bhagavad-Gita, that YOU ARE HAPPINESS and GOODNESS … so ALLOW THE GOODNESS to EXPRESS THROUGH YOUR THOUGHTS, WORDS and DEEDS. Your self-growth is INSIDE-OUT not OUTSIDE-IN.
Bhagavad-Gita Verses to Learn By-heart:
2.14 – 2.28