You rarely get a chance to listen about glories of Lord in Kaliyuga. It’s manifestation of grace, sign of good fortune, and blessings of great souls that you come to hear about tales of Lord from people dealing in supreme knowledge found In Indian scriptures. That’s how I felt while attending a seminar held at Prayag Sangeet Samiti, Allahabad, which dealt with discussion pertaining to Srimad Bhagvad Gita in light of human values, spiritual values and equality among all religions.
Many distinguished speakers expressed their views which included Shri Keshari Nath Tripathi, Honourable Governor of West Bengal; Vibhav Bhushan Tripathi, former Advocate General of Uttar Pradesh; Justice Rajesh Tandon, Chairman, Human Rights Commission, Uttarakhand; Justice Sakharam (retd); Dr Devendra Kumar Tiwari, Advocate, Allahabad High Court, Allahabad, and Shri Rishikant Pandey, Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Allahabad. The event was held under aegis of “Gita Mission For Cosmic Well-Being” which is being run by Shri Satish Chandra Upadhyay, Advocate, Allahabad High Court. The event was also attended by Shri Janak Pandey, former Vice Chancellor, Bihar Central University and Shri R K Ojha, President, Allahabad High Court Bar Association, Allahabad. However, it was pretty unfortunate that constraints of time did not allow Janak Pandey to express his views. Mr. R S Verma ( retd IAS ) presented the vote of thanks on this occasion in a heartfelt way.
I had never heard Mr Keshari Nath Tripathi before but I have been quiet aware of his oratory skills. He is a profound and influential speaker on matters pertaining to Indian scriptures besides, of course, being legal expert of great stature. His keynote address did not disappoint us. It was an engrossing talk related with significance of Bhagavad Gita in modern times. He hailed it as scripture that in essence dealt with significance of knowledge from various level of thoughts. He referred to fact that knowledge of cosmic affairs is better than earthly knowledge pertaining to life sciences. In other words, he was referring to supremacy of metaphysics over physics! That’s not surprising since ancient Hindu scriptures like Upanishads have talked about distinction between Para Vidya ( Higher Knowledge ) and Apara Vidya ( Lower Knowledge). It’s not inappropriate if one excels in earthly knowledge but it’s better that if having attained human life one devotes it to study of higher knowledge.
In regard to supremacy of this higher knowledge one needs to recollect words of Swami Vivekanand: ” Western Scholars are now striving to understand this ideal which is enshrined in our Sanskrit literature and philosophy, and which has been the characteristic of India all through the ages.” I must say this term “knowledge”, especially “Higher Knowledge” is not interchangeable with term “education”. Education nowadays is a medium to generate money than imparting refined knowledge which draws you towards your “real self”
Mr Keshari Nath emphasized upon the fact that had life ended on what we treat as “death” the terms like “Moksha” ( liberation ) would have sounded defunct. However, that’s not the case. There is life after death and if that’s the case one is bound to find meaning in Srimad Bhagvad Gita. In his eyes, it’s quite striking about Srimad Bhagavad Gita that it does not try to disown antithetical views. It tries to assimilate views contradictory to the views expressed by Lord Krishna. That’s the supreme beauty of Srimad Bhagvad Gita which with Upanishads and Brahma Sutras constitute Prasthanatrayi Texts in Hindu Philosophy. He gave example of Mahabharata Age that each day at the end of war fought at Kurukshetra, the army heads belonging to Pandvas and Kuaravas visited camps of each other. Mr Keshari Nath sounds well that relevance of this scripture is not limited to mere troubled times but it’s also a scripture meant to improve the affairs of life in stable period. He ended his speech on this thought-provoking idea that one needs to ascertain what really Parabrhman is all about whenever Lord highlight his supremacy by hailing himself or his “I” as Parabhrahman?
Professor Rishikant Pandey referred to the philosophical dimensions present in Srimad Bhagvad Gita. He finds its amazing that same scripture got portrayed as ultimate treatise of different branches of Indian philosophy! Sri Adi Sankara treated it as epitome of Advaita ( Non-dualism ). Sri Ramanujacharya perceived it to be the ideal scripture for followers of Bhakti Marga ( path of devotion ). In modern times, thinkers like Bal Gangdhar Tilak and Swami Vivekananda popularized it as scripture hinting at supremacy of Karma ( action ). Quoting an episode from the life of Swami Vivekananda he said it was a scripture which is associated with deeper realization than mere academic interception. Swami Vivekananda once met a person whom he noticed was reading Gita holding it upside down. When he inquired about it, the man gave a wonderful answer: “It’s a scripture not meant for casual reading! It’s only about intense realization.” Professor Pandey referring to religious tolerance said that all religions need to seen as various routes to reach the same destination. He appreciated the insights of Lord Krishna by stating that Krishna never asks anybody to discard his/her style of worshiping, but, on the contrary, He strengthens faith of devotees in whatever path they select!! However, it’s better if the seekers learn to appreciate the “Will of Lord” instead of acting on par with their whims and fancies.
Vibhav Mani Tripathi, constitutional expert and former advocate general, reiterated precepts shared by Professor Pandey in a finer way. He said that whether one chooses Bhakti Marga or Nishkama Karma Marga ( Selfless Action ) the final resting point gets revealed with dawn of Higher knowledge. In other words, there is no liberation or realization without one embracing Higher knowledge. No wonder in eyes of Lord Krishna a “Gyani Bhakta” ( a knowledge-oriented devotee ) is most dear to Him! “Nahi Jnanena sadrusham pavitram iha vidyate-certainly, there is no purifier in this world like Knowledge” ( Bhagvad Gita 4.38 )
Justice Rajesh Tandon talked about the relevance of this scripture in light of his experiences. He said that increasing cases of violation of human rights could be curbed if one gets in tune with human values highlighted in Srimad Bhagvad Gita! We need better human values since their absence has ensured that poor people reel under unspeakable issues!! Justice Sakharam also referred to increasing relevance of this scripture by drawing parallel to verses found in Mundaka Upanishad! Dr Devendra Kumar Tiwari while speaking about objectives and mission of “Gita Mission For Cosmic Well-Being” informed that real inspiration came from Swami Harihar Ji Maharaj. He informed us that besides creating awareness about this Holy Text at worldwide level, the Gita Mission was also involved in public welfare schemes like planting saplings!
I can’t end this write-up without sharing with readers interesting insights shared by Satish Chandra Upadhyay, President, Gita Mission For Cosmic Well-Being. He informed that during one of his conversations with Swami Harihar Ji Maharaj he was surprised to know that Srimad Bhagvad Gita had something to offer about state of mind of judge! That sounds interesting since right now Supreme Court is very seriously involved in improving its collegium system. Srimad Bhagavd Gita states that a person interested in emerging as perfect justice should be owner of detached mind, ferociously concerned with nothing else other than cause of justice. We all know that Srimad Bhagvad Gita has laid great emphasis on equanimity! Gautam Buddha described a mind filled with equanimity as “abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without hostility and without ill-will.” That’s what we need in an ideal judge!!
Mr Upadhyay said that Srimad Bhagvad Gita has given birth to psychological theories prevailing in our times. It provided inspiration to great souls like Mahatma Gandhi and Sri Aurobindo. In fact, one can’t achieve the “supramental consciousness” mentioned by Sri Aurobindo if one has no clue about ideas expressed in Srimad Bhagvad Gita! Mr Upahdyay rightly stated that ultimate meaning of “Adhyatma” or spirituality is to get situated in one’s “Great Self” lying in our inner being. That would make us “Sthitpragya” ( attainment of equanimity when one gets in tune with Higher Self ). Let’s hope all seekers attain this state as early as possible to make journey of life a fruitful affair!
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