The comfort of the Bhagavad Gita in these turbulent times

In the present times, all over the world and especially in India, there is an even greater requirement for peace and comfort of mind, to gather courage within, to deal with all the emotional turmoil that the pandemic has brought with it.

We are all Arjunas today, and Krishna’s counsel in the Bhagavad Gita stands as solid as ever. For the 105th Jayanti of H.H. Swami Chinmayananda, “Chinmaya Channel” on YouTube presents a free series of talks in English by Swami Chinmayananda, on Bhagavad Gita Chapter 7, from 8 May to 25 May 2021, at 7:15 PM IST daily for 45 minutes. The series will be inaugurated on 8 May by the Honourable Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, with a video message. As a prelude and introduction, here is an article by Swami Chinmayananda:

Swami Chinmayananda

The Comfort of the Bhagavad Gita

Swami Chinmayananda

Deep within us is a region unaffected by the tumultuous uproar of our daily lives. It remains ever a calm seat of poise and serenity just like the depth of an ocean. Many great men in the world recognized this region and named it differently. President Truman called this the ‘fox-hole in his mind’ and took a retreat into it whenever he felt tired and vexed with the outside world. Mahatma Gandhi called this his ‘small inner voice’.

With whatever name one may call it, all those who have discovered its existence have unanimously declared that diving into its peace and calm invigorates one’s tired mind and soothes tense nerves. According to our philosophy, this is the seat of one’s intuition and an occasional plunge therein gives poise to one’s personality, and adds a glowing dexterity to one’s actions.

To plunge into the deeper layers of one’s mental makeup is to take leave of all the anxieties and fears of daily life, at least for the time being. To eradicate these disturbing elements from one’s mental atmosphere, one has to practice a great deal of self-control in life. The unruly thoughts which multiply endlessly should be securely harnessed and the mind trained to glide over to more pleasant thoughts which bring harmony and peace. To achieve this, a sense of detachment from the worldly objects is essential, and this must, of necessity, presuppose a re-evaluation of the world and its objects.

It is to this re-evaluation that one should turn all one’s attention when faced with problems, crucial or casual. For most of us, almost everything in life is a problem and frequently assumes threatening proportions. Wherever we go, problems seem to pursue us in some form or other, and there seems to be no escape from them.

Problems arise when we fail to view situations in their right perspective. When we become clouded with ignorance and delusory misconceptions, balance and discrimination disappear from our minds, leaving behind selfishness, lust and anger. This is because we live so much on the superficial level that our inner depth of peace and serenity become alien to us. Identifying with the ever-changing waves, we have forgotten the real nature of the ocean. Constantly living in the storms of the mind, we are foreigners to our own spiritual tranquility. Senses contact the objects, and from those contacts sensations are born. All such sensations are fleeting and impermanent. 

Neither the senses nor the objects, in and by themselves, can cause any sensations. But when they come together, backed by our mental-intellectual background, we are drawn into a play of opposites like good and bad, joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain, likes and dislikes, heat and cold, and so on. These mental evaluations and intellectual estimations though, no doubt, the noblest of human faculties, are also the root cause of all problems. 

With a controlled self, an individual attains quietude. Dualities in life can no longer overpower him. This yoga removes him from the union with pain. The superficial disturbances cease to bother him, and he comes to realize the serenity and peace that is the true nature of his innermost essence. 

The Bhagavad Gita brings solace to our agitated minds, balm to our injured egos, and relief to our over-wrought brains. The Gita has no artificial remedy for the maladies that beset us. She seeks to eradicate the very cause of the malady and hence the necessity to have patience, perseverance and great faith in the values preached by her immortal words. In the Gita-way of life problems are nil. In the fire of Gita-knowledge, ignorance, with all its misconceptions, is reduced to ashes.

Therefore, with the sword of knowledge, cut the asunder the doubts regarding the Self, born of ignorance, residing in your heart, and take refuge in yoga. Arise, O Bharata. (IV:42)

Through this initiative of Chinmaya Mission’s to herald peace and courage, all are invited to listen to the talks and apply the greatness of the Bhagavad Gita to life, to look inwards and build happiness on a foundation so strong that no pandemic can shake it.

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