Tag Archives: Sri Adi Sankara

Srimad Bhagvad Gita: Why It’s A Perennial Source Of Divine Inspiration For Greatest Minds In The East And West?

( Srimad Bhagvad Gita has invited attention of great minds. )

One scripture which continues to amaze all curious conscious minds is, undoubtedly, Srimad Bhagvad Gita. It has invited attention of greatest intellectuals since time immemorial. One certainly needs to delve deep into actual purport of verses to realize why the best minds venturing on planet earth remain in awe of this scripture even when it’s primarily portrayed as icon of Hindu civilization.The great foreign minds like Aldous Huxley, Henry David Thoreau, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Carl Jung, Bulent Ecevit and Hermann Hesse beside great Indian minds like Sri Aurobindo, Mahatma Gandhi, Sunita Williams and Bal Gangadhar Tilak, to name a few, struck a deep chord with essence highlighted in this scripture. What’s amazing that it lends different perspective to great minds belonging to different eras and different fields. That’s the reason why commentary of Sri Adi Sankara differs from commentary of Sri Ramanuja even as both treated Bhagavad Gita as highest source of divine inspiration!

( Participants {From Left To Right}: R S Verma, Retd. IAS;  Sanjay Mishra, Advocate; SC Upadhyaya, Senior Advocate and President of “Gita Mission For Cosmic Well-Being”; Sri Ram Yadav, Retd. IAS; Professor Janak Pandey, Former Vice-Chancellor Central University Of Bihar; N C Chaturvedi, Senior Advocate, and Mr. R R Upadhyaya. )  


It’s natural for Indian minds to be in sync with messages of Lord Krishna in Bhagvad Gita, but if we closely study life-sketches of great foreign minds it would fill us with wonder to notice that even they too referred to teachings of Lord Krishna spread in this scripture!! Srimad Bhagavad Gita is amalgam of  Upanishadic Philosophy popularly known as Vedanta. Now just ponder over the words of Erwin Schroedinger, the most celebrated Austrian Physicist known as the father of Quantum Physics and winner of Noble Prize for his invention of Wave Mechanics: ” Vedanta teaches that consciousness is singular, all happenings are played out in one universal consciousness and there is no multiplicity of selves.” The evidence of impact of Indian scriptures on these great ancient foreign minds gets revealed once we read such striking confessions on their part! Wilhelm von Humboldt ( 1767-1835) , Prussian Minister of Education, a brilliant linguist who gave birth to science of general linguistics, said about Srimad Bhagvad Gita; ” The Gita, the most beautiful, perhaps the only true philosophical song existing in any known tongue- perhaps the deepest and loftiest thing the world has to show.”

No wonder I was thrilled with excitement when I was invited to attend the lecture of  Professor Janak Pandey, renowned scholar in fields of Psychology and Indian Philosophy, who also served as Vice-Chancellor of Central University of Bihar in past. The lecture was held under aegis of “Gita Mission For Cosmic Well-Being” on the eve of Gita Jayanti celebrated on Askhaya Ekadashi-  a day dedicated to honour Srimad Bhagvad Gita. His speech was a lucid description of the beauty of Srimad Bhagvad Gita. I wished that he should have spoken for a longer duration but once again constraints of time played spoilsport. Yet I found his short speech quite thought-provoking, stimulating and rejuvenating. He raised an important question that why Srimad Bhagvad Gita continues to inspire West? After all, the West is champion of rationalism and scientific spirit!! Janak Pandey felt that it’s not surprising for us to flirt with verses of Srimad Bhagavad Gita since it serves our religious instincts besides enhancing our faith in glory of Lord Krishna. However, it’s very clear that neither religious ground nor issue of faith could be the real reason for Westerns to show their interest in it. In Srimad Bhagvad Gita there is certainly more than meets the eye! There is something which transcends the mind and intellect.

( Professor Janak Pandey Delivering His Keynote Address )

Professor Janak Pandey tried to solve this mystery in this brief speech as to why this scripture continues to haunt the imagination of Western minds. He highlighted his conversation with Michael I. Posner when he happened to deliver keynote address at UGC Centre of Excellence for Behavioural and Cognitive Sciences, University of Allahabad, few years back. Michael I. Posner is an American psychologist, the editor of numerous cognitive and neuroscience compilations, awarded with the National Medal of Science by U.S. President Barack Obama. Mr Posner revealed that he was a regular visitor to Gita Centre run in his city. He regularly visited the centre and listened the lectures there even as he barely commanded grip over Sanskrit. This helped him lot to carve out new psychological perspectives! At this juncture, it’s necessary to recall  episode of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s meeting with an unknown stranger who was shedding tears while reading Bhagvad Gita even as he understood not a single verse! The point is that even when you understand not a single verse, it’s nothing sort of miracle that mere recitation of verses found in this scripture is highly rejuvenating ! The verses create emotional and intellectual turmoil within in a positive way even if we happen to intercept it in a passing way!!

Professor Janak Pandey referred to Sigmund Freud, father of psychoanalysis, who believed that a human being is bundle of desires. His theories led to modern branches of psychology in recent times. It’s really interesting that anybody who has read Bhagavad Gita would immediately realize that how Lord Krishna  dealt with genesis of desires calling it interplay of three primary Gunas namely Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. In fact, Arjuna, rightly pointed out that “chanchalam hi manah krishna” ( mind is flickering in nature ). The actual purport is that Freud’s interception is quite limited even though Freud represents one of the the best minds in recent times! The various chapters of Gita are, in fact, different dimensions of advance psychology!

No wonder, as rightly pointed out by Professor Janank Pandey, Srimad Bhagvad Gita offers best scope for study of human nature. The West realized this quite well and thus applied fundamentals enshrined in Gita in their daily life! Unfortunately, the Indians lagged miserably behind their Western counterpart in terms of practical applications of enlightened principles spread in Srimad Bhagavad Gita. The Indians need to emulate approach of Westerns in this regard by introducing concepts mentioned in Gita in practical life. Let’s make it visible in our daily lives instead of keeping relevance of Gita alive only in intellectual discussions.

 ( Author of this post i.e. myself with Professor Janak Pandey. I found him to be extremely  down-to-earth and having low profile approach. That’s sign of a genuine intellectual. Mr. SC Upadhayaya can be seen explaining certain point of view to Mr. Pandey and myself can be seen as an attentive listener 🙂 )

On this occasion, Mr. Rakesh Pandey, Professor, Department of History, Banaras Hindu University, also presented his scintillating views. Professor Rakesh Pandey, who was upset over growing influence of hatred and consumerism, said that unless we come to realize that man is essentially divine in nature, it would be hard for us to stop the regressive policies which have hit planet earth. Professor Rakesh Pandey said that concept of “sarva-bhūta-hite ratah” ( involved in welfare of all beings ) is not possible unless we have realized that “Īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd-deśe ‘rjuna tiṣṭhati” ( Lord alone resides in each being ). Professor Rakesh Pandey added a new dimension to the ongoing discussion when he said that true realization cannot dawn upon us if we do not absorb the sentiments expressed in the ultimate declaration of Sri Adi Sankara:Brahma satyam jagat mithya jivo brahmaiva näparah” ( Brahman is the Reality, the universe is an illusion, the living being is Brahman alone ). In nutshell, this would alone ensure supreme devotion towards Lord the Devarshi Narada way!

The ever-increasing hatred would not stop in absence of true realization of one’s nature. The ultimate declaration on part of Sri Adi Sankara is bit difficult for average minds from point of view of grasping its actual purport, but there is no way out! You cannot wipe out hatred unless you realize that self in you is self in all the beings!! That man is “potentially divine” is the only escape route!

( Professor Rakesh Pandey, Department Of History, Benaras Hindu University, addressing the audience. He advocated the necessity of installing “Ishvara Bhava” ( feeling of divinity ) in each jeeva ( individual self ) )

Sri Ram Yadav, retd. IAS, who also addressed this event, eloquently expressed that verses of Srimad Bhagvad Gita serve as panacea for human beings chased by unspeakable problems. This scripture is going to stay with us in future generations since it has the capacity to elevate our spirit no matter what’s the nature of issue haunting us. For people who have given up hope of redemption, it’s Gita alone which offers solace to them when it says “sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ” ( Abandon all types of dharma – come and surrender unto Me alone! Do not fear, for I will surely deliver you from all reactions.) ( Chap. 18, Verse 66 ). In fact, Lord is ready to bear all the responsibilities of such a seeker who shows tremendous faith in glory of Lord Krishna:  ” Ananyas cintayanto mam ye janah paryupasate tesam nityabhiyuktanam yoga-ksemam vahamy aham” ( But those who worship Me with devotion, meditating on My transcendental form-to them I carry what they lack and preserve what they have. ( Chap. 9, Verse 22 )

The event was also addressed by S C Upadhyaya, Senior Advocate, Allahabad High Court, who besides narrating the achievements of  “Gita Mission For Cosmic Well-Being” in the capacity of its President also came to reveal that Madan Mohan Malviya gave 100% concession in fees to any student who successfully quoted even one verse of Gita with perfection. He said that Gita inspired giants like Bal Gangadhar Tillak and Mahatma Gandhi to enter into selfless actions ( nishkama bhava ). Senor Advocate N C Chaturvedi, R S Verma, retd. IAS,  and coordinator of this event Advocate Sanjay Mishra also spoke about effectiveness of being in touch with verses of Srimad Bhagvad Gita!

( Sri Ram Yadav, Retd. IAS, said that Srimad Bhagvad Gita serve as panacea for human beings chased by unspeakable problems. ) 

Mr Devendra Kumar Tiwari, Ex Vice President of Allahabad High Court Bar Association, presented fascinating views while presenting vote of thanks. Mr Tiwari said that it’s attachment with “Karma” ( action ) and detachment towards “Phala” ( gains or achievements ) which is the essence of Srimad Bhagvad Gita. In other words; let’s be highly focused  towards “Shashwata” ( eternal or imperishable ) and remain unconcerned about “Mithyatva”  ( transience ). It would be extremely pleasing to state at this juncture about the soothing Shri Radha oriented bhajans sung by Mr. R B Tripathi, Assistant Registrar, Prayag Sangeet Samiti. Mr Tripathi who also played flute at this event happens to be President awarded (1968) artist is also top-notch Akashvani ( radio )  artist as well. I must say his music presentations provided a much needed conductive atmosphere for intense discussions on Gita or else I noticed many advocates either rushing towards their home or food plates!

I need to end this write-up by reiterating  words from keynote address delivered by Professor Janak Pandey. Let’s follow the footsteps of Westerners who have learnt quite well how to bring into application concepts unleashed by Sriamd Bhagvad Gita. It’s a scripture aimed at making human being an “integrated personality” since Gita provides us divine inspiration, supreme goal, and art of manifesting these goals! It’s a scripture which makes one aware of one’s true persona, realize one’s true nature. It’s time to apply essence of Gita this way. That’s the reason why Sri Aurobindo boldly asserted “Bhagavad-Gita is a true scripture of the human race a living creation rather than a book, with a new message for every age and a new meaning for every civilization.” Perhaps this is why in coming generations, Srimad Bhagvad Gita, would continue to show perfect way to both India and the rest of the world!!

Sri Sankara

( I need to thank Professor  Rakesh Pandey, BHU,  that he referred to declaration of Sri Adi Sankara: Brahma satyam jagat mithya jivo brahmaiva näparah” . His commentary on Gita is the best representative of Indian intellect. Sri Adi Sankara also highlights that Guru can be young and disciples in the last lap of their lives! )

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( The post has been written by Arvind K.Pandey, Freelancer, Reputed International Blogger and Advocate, Allahabad High Court )


Other images of this event:


 ( This boy named Aditya Upadhyaya did excellent recitation of Chapter 14 of Sriamd Bhagavad Gita. Well done, Aditya!! God Bless You!  )

( Dr Devendra Kumar Tiwari, Ex Vice-President Allahabad High Court Bar Association, Allahabad, presented vote of thanks, with a message to remain attached to Karma ( action ) and detached from results arising out of particular Karma!  )

  ( A selfie with Mr R B Tripathi, Assistant Registrar, Prayag Sangeet Samiti.  A top-notch radio artist who has received award at the hands of President of India in year 1968. On this occasion he mesmerized the audience with his singing and flute recital  )  

( A selfie with Mr Rakesh Pandey, Professor, Department Of History, Benaras Hindu University ( BHU ) 🙂 It’s a great honour to be with such a  wonderful academician belonging to such an iconic institution! ) 

( A selfie with Mr Janak Pandey, Ex Vice-Chancellor, Central University of Bihar.  Life is a short affair and if in this short journey you come to spend few moments with such top-notch intellectuals then it gives rise to deep satisfaction within 🙂 )

( The busy advocates in great number attended this lecture! I must appreciate this fact that despite being chased by tight schedules they managed to pay attention to such wonderful listeners with rapt attention 🙂 And serious faces of my nieces show that they are pretending hard to pay attention to ongoing developments 😛  ) 

( The Hanuman Temple at Civil Lines. At this place this event took place. )

( The statue of Swamiji who laid the foundation of this beautiful temple. )

( Awesome Statues Of Sri Radha-Krishna placed inside this temple. Jai Radha-Madhava! Be Their Glory Remains Always Intact 🙂 )


Srimad Bhagvad Gita ( Original Text )

Pic Credit:

Pic One  


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