The recent gestures of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Japan and the USA where he presented a copy each of Bhagavad-gītā to the highest officers of the respective countries and the subsequent proposal of the External Affairs Minister of India, Sushma Swaraj, for the Bhagavad-gītā to be given the status of Rashtriya Granth or the national scripture of India have spurred up a buzz about the holy book among the general public. Some are speaking for and some against these actions.
Considering the Bhagavad-gītā on its merits alone, it is by no means a cultish sectarian book. It is actually the most practical solution for perfect peace in the world. God cannot be limited by sects and faiths. He is independent of and far above all these man-made boundaries and considerations. People think that when we attach the name Kṛṣṇa to God, we are limiting Him to a certain faith or sect, namely Hindu. This indeed, is not the fact. In the Bhagavad-gītā, or in the entire corpus of Vedic literatures, there is no mention of the word Hindu.
The actual name is sanātana dharma — eternal religious principle for all time and for all places. True to the name, this religious system has been in existence since time immemorial. There is no trace in history when this system of religion came about. In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, we have information that tene brahma hṛdā ya ādi-kavaye — Lord Kṛṣṇa imparted this supreme instruction at the very beginning of creation to the first created being, Brahmā.
Moreover, the name Kṛṣṇa means the all-attractive person. In the Bhagavad-gītā, whenever Lord Kṛṣṇa spoke, He is referred to as śrī-bhagavān uvāca — “The Supreme Lord said”. Now, the word bhagavān is a combination of two words – bhaga and vān. Bhaga means opulences and vān means the possessor.
The great sage Parāśara Muni, the father of Śrī Vyāsadeva, gave the definition of the word bhagavān as follows:
vīryasya yaśasaḥ śriyaḥ
saṇṇāṁ bhaga itiṅgana
[Viṣṇu Purāṇa 6.5.47]
“Bhagavān, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is defined as one who is full in six opulences—who has unlimited strength, fame, wealth, knowledge, beauty, and renunciation.” Anyone who has even a tiny quantity of any of these opulences becomes attractive in this world. So since God has all these opulences in infinite quantity, He is quite able to irresistibly attract anyone and everyone who comes to know of His exalted qualities.
Therefore His name is Kṛṣṇa. Now, that is not any Hindu description. It is a scientific description of God. As we have seen in the above verse, He has unlimited knowledge. So what to speak of national, the Bhagavad-gītā is a universal scripture.
As the Indian Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi put it, “I don’t think that I have anything more to give and the world also does not have anything more to get than this.” It is the quintessence of knowledge.Having said that, it is of no use to just ceremoniously acknowledge it as the Indian national scripture.
As Srimati Sushma Swaraj ji has mentioned in her public speech, everyone should read the Bhagavad-gītā everyday. One should also adopt its principles in life and teach this science all over the world for the benefit of everyone.
One very important point to note here is that the knowledge of Bhagavad-gītā has to be received in an authorized chain of disciplic succession called paramparā as mentioned by Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself in the Bhagavad-gītā (4.2): evaṁ paramparā-prāptam imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ. “This supreme science was thus received through the chain of disciplic succession, and the saintly kings understood it in that way.”
Otherwise, the knowledge will be distorted and lost. So one has to search out a guru, spiritual master, who is coming from an authorized disciplic succession and is a realized soul himself and who thus never deviates from the word of Kṛṣṇa.
And the recipient of this great knowledge, the student, should adopt the attitude of Arjuna, who played the part of a perfect student. He said in the tenth chapter of Bhagavad-gītā (10.14) that sarvam etad ṛtaṁ manye yan māṁ vadasi keśava. “I totally accept as truth all that You have told Me, O Keśava!”
He did not make misinterpretations. And in the end (18.73), he says kariṣye vacanam tava. “I am prepared to act according to Your instructions without reservations.” For example, some people say that Kṛṣṇa’s language should be taken in a figurative sense and not literally, etc. etc. All of these are unscrupulous ideas. If Arjuna did not accept Kṛṣṇa’s words like that, we cannot do that either. That is the way of paramparā, or disciplic succession.
Once there is a perfect teacher and a perfect student, as exemplified by Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna respectively, the transcendental knowledge can be effectively transmitted just like when there is union between a potent man and a fertile woman, there is immediately pregnancy. Hence we should become perfect students so that we can easily realize this sublime knowledge.
We would like to mention here with great reverence that His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, the Founder-Ācārya of the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement worldwide, is a bona fide guru coming in the authorized disciplic succession and he is a self-realized soul himself. He has written his world-renowned translation of the Bhagavad-gītā called Bhagavad-gītā As It Is. We urge all the readers here to kindly purchase a copy of it from our temple or our online e-shop and read it everyday.
In addition to the book, we offer free classes on Bhagavad-gītā for both adults and children at our temple. We request everyone to kindly take advantage of these facilities and make your life successful and blissful!