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Bhagavad Geeta: Chapter 1, Verses 38-47

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Arjuna, who was a very courageous warrior started having a mental breakdown, as illustrated in the earlier verses in chapter 1 of the Bhagavad Geeta. He continues to put forth all kinds of arguments against the war after a complete logical analysis from his perspective. Chapter 1, Verses 38 and 39 Arjuna said: "Their thoughts are overpowered by greed and even though they see no wrong in destroying their relatives or no sin in making their friends suffer; O Janardhana (Krishna), why should we who can clearly see the crime in killing the kith and kin, not turn away from this sin?" Arjuna is indicating that wiser and nobler people should know better. For example, if a drunkard friend behaves nastily when drunk, we forgive him; Similarly, in this situation, he is arguing that Pandavas who know better should not be sinning by killing their relatives. Chapter 1, Verse 40 "When a family is destroyed, its traditions also perish, and due to the destruction of spirituality/

Bhagavad Geeta: Chapter 1, Verses 24-37

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In the last few verses , Sanjaya has narrated the mental state of the two armies vividly. He takes Arjuna and Duryodhana as examples to demonstrate the state of mind on both sides. On one side, he shows how Duryodhana is so fearful looking at the enemy, and in contrast, Arjuna is so courageous that he wants to go forward and take a closer look at the enemy. Chapter 1, Verses 24 and 25 Sanjaya said to (Bhārata) Dhritarashtra, Thus addressed by Gudākesha (Arjuna), Hrishīkesha (Sri Krishna) having drawn the excellent chariot between the two armies, in the presence of Bheeshma, Drona, and all other kings, he said: "O Partha (Arjuna), behold all these descendants of Kuru gathered here." Dhritarashtra is referred to as Bhārata as he is from the lineage of King Bharat. Arjuna is referred to as Gudākesha, meaning one who has conquered sleep (or laziness). Sri Krishna is referred to as Hrishīkesha, meaning who is the Lord of the senses. Arjuna is also referred to as Partha, meanin

Bhagavad Geeta: Chapter 1, Verses 12-23

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When someone is not following the righteous path with his heart full of viciousness, all sorts of doubts creep up. That is what happened to Duryodhana when he went to his teacher Drona and spoke those unnecessary words in the previous verses . He was perhaps trying to give himself confidence and was expecting Drona to reassure him. But Drona remained silent throughout. Chapter 1, Verse 12 The old and experienced man in Kuru Dynasty, Bheeshma, blew his conch Simhanādam loudly, giving happiness and confidence to his army. Having listened to Duryodhana and seeing Drona standing quietly without responding, Bheeshma knew that if he let Duryodhana continue to talk, he would be demotivating others in the army. So he went ahead and blew his conch (named Simhanādam) to give joy and confidence to his army. Although Bheeshma did this seeing the mental condition of Duryodhana, the Kauravas became the aggressors officially starting the war through this act. Chapter 1, Verse 13 After Bheeshma b

Bhagavad Geeta: Chapter 1, Verses 1-11

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The Bhagavad Geeta starts with Dhritarashtra (the blind King) asking his charioteer and advisor Sanjaya, to narrate what was occurring on the battlefield at Kurukshetra. Sanjaya had been granted the divine vision by Sage Vyasa to see what was going on at Kurukshetra. Sanjaya plays the role of a journalist to Dhritarashtra. Since the King was blind by birth, Sanjaya had to be explicit and descriptive in his narration, to allow the King to understand and feel the exact happenings on the battlefield. Chapter 1, Verse 1 Dhritarashtra asks Sanjaya what his sons and the Pandavas who have assembled with the desire to wage a war, did in Kurukshetra? Dhritarashtra is not only physically blind but also blinded by his attachment to his sons, which paved for the war, so to say. Dhritarashtra himself allowed all the atrocities and injustices that his son Duryodhana committed against the Pandavas. Because of his blind love for his son, he did not utter a word against Duryodhana, while his son wa

Inviting Light

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Wishing you and your family a joyous Deepavali. May your hearts and homes be filled with light forever. This Deepavali, I'm inviting light by creating space to focus on what is more meaningful to me.  Once in a while, it is wise to pause and ponder about what we are spending our time and efforts on. Are the actions we are performing taking us towards or away from whatever goals we have set for ourselves? Are we seeing light or are we digging ourselves into a deeper and darker hole we have dug up unintentionally little by little? Are we having a clear mind to pursue what matters to us? Or are we consumed with following our habitual patterns with no time to reflect upon and work towards our goals? When we clutter our homes, it's difficult for us to find something that we need at any moment. Similarly, when we clutter our minds, there is no space for the light of our inner wisdom to guide our actions in the right way to make ourselves and others around us happy. When I started Blu

Geeta Dhyanam

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Gītā Dhyānam is done before the study of the Bhagavad Geeta traditionally. This was composed by  Madhusudana Sarasvati , who was a philosopher in Advaita Vedānta. The nine Dhyāna Ślokās are chanted (meditated upon) as a prayer and invocation to the highest to prepare our mind and intellect to be ready for the study. The purpose of a prayer or invocation is to attune both head and heart to the higher with respect (mat-paraḥ) and love (mat-cittaḥ). When both love and respect come together (devotion), we are able to focus and receive the profound wisdom from the sacred study. Verse 1   ॐ पार्थाय प्रतिबोधितां भगवता नारायणेन स्वयम् व्यासेन ग्रथितां पुराणमुनिना मध्ये महाभारतम् अद्वैतामृतवर्षिणीं भगवतीमष्टादशाध्यायिनीम् अम्ब त्वामनुसन्दधामि भगवद्गीते भवद्वेषिणीम्   ॥ १ ॥ Om pārthāya pratibodhitāṃ bhagavatā nārāyaṇena svayaṃ vyāsena grathitāṃ purāṇa-muninā madhye mahābhāratam advaitāmṛta-varṣiṇīṃ bhagavatīm-aṣṭādaśādhyāyinīṃ amba tvām-anusandadhāmi bhagavad-gīte bhava-dveṣiṇīm  ॥ 1 ॥ Salutat

Why Study Bhagavad Geeta?

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Ever since I became interested in Vedānta a few years ago, I've been yearning to begin studying the Bhagavad Gītā, perhaps because I grew up listening to the Mahabhāratā and the Bhagavad Gītā was mentioned in that context many times throughout my life. I'm grateful that today on Vijayadhasami, I've begun the study with a great group of people from around the world. Our life is a series of experiences with some happy and some sad experiences. We all naturally want to be completely happy and free from sorrow. Our ultimate goal as human beings is to be free from sorrow. Only humans have this capacity to self-reflect with our mind and intellect, to make choices, and to put effort towards achieving that ultimate goal. The means to attain liberation (freedom from sorrow) is preserved in the Vedas in Indian culture. Veda means Knowledge.  It comes from the word vid which means to know . Vedas are divided into three kāṇḍas, or sections: karma-kāṇḍa, upāsanā-kāṇḍa, and jñāna-kāṇ

The Learning Continues...

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The human mind is always curious with the yearning to learn. The more knowledge we have on any subject, the more satisfied and confident we become. In addition, the urge to learn provides us with clear goals to motivate us every morning. When we have the attitude to learn, there are teachers and resources all around us. With my children back in college, I've been reflecting on what my learning goals are for the rest of this year. Life is an exploration where we are constantly figuring out what gives us happiness and fulfills us. It's not until recently that I have observed that I'm most captivated when engaged in two areas - Philosophy (specifically Advaita Vedanta) and Art. A couple of years ago, I wrote about how I started studying Vedanta and explained briefly what Vedanta is. As a follow-up to that post, I am grateful to have completed the Advanced Vedanta course last month. It took me a bit longer than what was suggested. But, that additional time was necessary to d

What Is Mindful Art?

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Art can be many different things to people based on how one views it. And like most things, everyone has their perspective on it. Without having any formal education in this area whatsoever, it was a secret wish of mine right from childhood to be an artist. I never pursued it as that was not considered a career option growing up. Life took its course while I got busy with family, career, etc. As time went by, I was having some health issues and decided to take a break from work. While focusing on getting better, I started doodling just for fun. And during that process, a shift happened. I haven't looked back since then. For me, art has opened up channels that I didn't know I was capable of accessing. It has the power to shift our attitude, change the way we think about ourselves and the world around us. And that is why I feel art is one of the most powerful tools to practice mindfulness. It naturally is very appealing as the various colors/shapes attract us to practice being in

Today Is What Matters The Most

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We cannot bring back the past, we cannot predict what the future holds, but we do have control over what we do today. Today is what matters the most. Let's not waste our energies on things we have no control over and focus on what matters the most. Today is a good day to have a good day!