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Gita Jayanti: Celebrating the treatise

Gita Jayanti: Celebrating the treatise
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To commemorate the teachings of Bhagavad Gita, which is set in a narrative framework of a dialogue between Pandava prince Arjuna and his guide Lord Krishna, Gita Jayanti is celebrated across the country. The celebration, also referred as Bhagawad Gita jayanti, is the day when the Bhagvad Gita was rendered by Lord Krishna to Arjuna in the Kurukshetra on the first day of the famous 18-day battle in the Mahabharata. Gita Jayanti falls on the ekadasi day of shukla paksha of the Margashirsha month (November-December) in traditional Indian calendar. This year, Gita Jayanti will be celebrated on 13 December.

The Bhagavad Gita is an exquisite discourse given to Arjuna by Lord Krishna, at the moment when Arjuna faced the most difficult situation of his life. Arjuna was a warrior of high repute; he had power and fame; he was endowed with all the qualities necessary for a man of his position, but when he faced the real challenge of his life, he was unable to meet it on his own. Recognising his own limitations as a human being, he surrendered to Lord Krishna. The Lord gave him instructions on how to live an inspired life, and how to deal with situations in life. It is a profound spiritual teaching, a guide to the Truth. In the
Gita
, the Lord teaches Arjuna about the immortality of the soul, the nature of the world and the Consciousness illuminating everything.

The message of the Gita is not to make us passive idealists, but to help us be active and courageous in life.

The Bhagavad Gita forms a part of the ancient epic poem the Mahabharata, written by sage Vyasa. The Mahabharata is the longest poem ever written; it is eight times the length of the Iliad and the Odyssey combined! It is the story of the Great War between the Pandavas, who were on the side of Dharma (righteousness) and the Kauravas, who, though relatives of the Pandavas, were an adharmic or unrighteous people. Sri Krishna first tried to counsel the Kauravas on the right course of action. When they refused to listen, the Lord generously offered the whole land to the Kauravas, save one house for the Pandavas to live in. It was only when the Kauravas swore that they would not give one blade of grass to the Pandavas, that Sri Krishna advised the Pandavas to go to war. He knew that if the Kauravas were allowed to rule, the whole country would be plunged into adharma, chaos, and destruction.

The teaching of the Gita takes place right in the middle of the battlefield, between the two armies, just as the war is about to begin. In the Gita, Lord Krishna teaches that spirituality is something we have to live in our day-to-day life - it is for everyone, and is especially applicable to all who want to live life to its fullest potential.

In his doubt and confusion, Arjuna reached a state of helplessness. He sought Sri Krishna’s guidance and help. It was then that god poured forth his message. When the disciplehood awakened in Arjuna, he became a vessel fit enough to receive spiritual knowledge, and the lord could correct his attitude.

Arjuna was transformed by the teaching that Krishna gave him. Sri Krishna did not change the external situation, but changed the mental attitude of Arjuna. In the battle that followed, Krishna proved that he was a living example of what he had just taught. He was the only one on the battlefield without any weapons, and yet there was a radiant smile on his face throughout. At the end the Pandavas emerged victorious, symbolising the victory of dharma over adharma.

The Gita is one of the most beautiful pieces of philosophy ever written. It shines as the beacon light of knowledge, inspiring millions to tread the path of Dharma. About the Gita, Mahatma Gandhi had said, ‘The Gita has been my mother. I lost my mother when I was young, but I never felt the absence of a mother, because I had the Gita with me.’ Gita Jayanthi is celebrated worldwide by all those who revere Bhagavad Gita as mother and respect her, especially devotees of Krishna. Mass recital of the 701 verses from all 18 chapters chanted throughout the day. Devotees also fast on this day as it is also ekadasi.
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