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Sunday 16 December 2018
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Five Topics of Bhagavad-gita

A clear and concise summary of the five principal spiritual topics discussed in the Bhagavad-gita, is presented in this article.

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Five thousand years ago the theological science of Bhagavad-gita was spoken by Sri Krishna the Supreme Personality of Godhead to His disciple Sri Arjuna. It stands supreme in its doctrines as the principles of religion were enunciated by God Himself.

There are five main themes illustrated in the Bhagavad-gita. They are:

  1. Ishvara – The Supreme Lord,
  2. Jiva – The Living Entity,
  3. Prakruti – The Material Nature,
  4. Kala – Eternal Time and
  5. Karma – Activities.

Let us have a summarized understanding of these five topics covered in the Bhagavad-gita.

1. Ishvara – The Supreme Lord

An excellent rose sprouting in the garden doesn’t show up on its own. It has a source – the seed. Clearly there is a cause and an effect for everything in this world. Any object of this world we see is not showing all alone but is created from a source. Along these lines on watchful thought we comprehend that each article has a source. How could a painting show up without a painter, despite the fact that there is an easel, paint, brush, etc? Thus by careful analysis we find the painter as the main reason for a painting to manifest. Similarly the creation is not generated on its own.

Who is the ultimate source of this creation? The Bhagavad-gita pronounces that God is the source and foundation of this entire creation. He is also the maintainer and annihilator. From Him everything radiates. When we see astounding happenings in the grand nature, we should understand that behind this cosmic sign there is a controller. Nothing could be revealed without being controlled.

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In the Bhagavad-gita, the Supreme Personality of Godhead Krishna is referred to as Bhagavan. He is declared as the greatest person and as having the supreme consciousness. In the Bhagavad-gita Arjuna addresses Sri Krishna as the Supreme person. Lord Sri Krishna Himself declares that He is also the supreme creator of all planets, the enjoyer of all sacrifices and the friend of all the living entities. In the Bhagavad-gita, He is addressed as Brahman, Paramatma and Ishvara. He is the supreme controller and hence called Ishvara, the Supreme Lord.

2. Jiva – The Living Entity

The living entity has no separate independent identity. He is the marginal energy of the Supreme. When he is entrapped by material energy, he is conditioned and when he is Krishna conscious or aware of the spiritual energy, then he is in his real and natural state of life.

The living entities are part and parcel of the Supreme Lord. Because the living beings are in quality like the supreme controller, they are considered as superior energy. A particle of gold is also gold; a drop of water from the sea is also salty. Similarly, we the living entities, being part and parcel of the supreme controller, Lord Sri Krishna, have all the characteristics of the Supreme Lord in tiny quantity.

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Also, living entities are secondary minute controllers. They are always attempting to control nature. This is seen in their attempt to control space or planets. This tendency to control is present in them because it is in Krishna – The Supreme Controller. But the living entities irrespective to their controlling ability can never be equal to the Supreme Controller – Sri Krishna. As the root of a tree maintains the whole tree, Krishna, being the original root of all things, maintains everything in this material manifestation. This is also confirmed in the Vedic literature (Katha Upanishad 2.2.13):

nityo nityanam chetanash chetananam
eko bahunam yovida dhatikaman

The Supreme Lord is the prime eternal among all eternals. He is the supreme living entity of all living entities, and He alone is maintaining all life. Among all the living entities, both conditioned and liberated, there is one supreme living personality, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who maintains them and gives them all the facility of enjoyment according to different work.

3. Prakruti – The Material Nature

Material nature is the separated energy of the Supreme Lord. Material nature is not independent. She is acting under the directions of the Supreme Lord. Material nature or Prakruti is female and she is controlled by the Lord just as the activities of a wife are controlled by the husband. Prakruti is always subordinate, prevailed by the Lord, who is the predominator. Prakruti is always under control of the Supreme Lord, whether inferior or superior. The Superior energy – living entities and Inferior energy – Material nature are both predominated, controlled by the Supreme Lord.

Lord Krishna declares in the Bhagavad-gita as follows: “This material nature is working under My direction.” When we see brilliant things happening in the magnificent nature, we ought to realize that behind this universe there is a controller. That controller is Ishvara Himself.

We should be free from modes of passion and ignorance

Material nature is constituted by three qualities: the mode of goodness, the mode of passion and the mode of ignorance. The manifestation of prakruti may be temporary, but it is not false. The material manifestation takes place at a certain interval, stays for a while and then disappears. This cycle is working eternally. Therefore prakruti is eternal; it is not false.

4. Kala – Eternal Time

Kala means time. Time has got its very great influence. Time’s business is to depreciate. Kala’s business is to kill, destroy. We make a nice house, but as soon as it becomes older it is destroyed. We all have a body, nice body, but the influence of time will ultimately prevail and destroy this body. That is the influence of time. In the Bhagavad-gita the universal form of Krishna is addressed as “Kala”.

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The Kala offers the conditioned souls both happiness and miseries. It is all predestined by eternal time. As we have miseries uncalled-for, so we may have happiness also without being asked, for they are all predestined by Kala. Everyone is suffering and enjoying the result of his own activities. No one is therefore either an enemy or friend of the Lord. Destiny is made by the living beings in course of social contact. Everyone here wants to lord over the material nature, and thus everyone creates his own destiny under the supervision of the Supreme Lord. He is all-pervading and therefore He can see everyone’s activities. And because the Lord has no beginning or end, He is known also as the eternal time, Kala.

Kala is a powerful force of the Supreme Lord which destroys and disintegrates everything of this material world. In the Bhagavad-gita, the Supreme Lord says that He devours everything of this world as Kala

5. Karma – Activities

In this world, living entities are engaged in various activities called karma. Every action in this world brings reaction. Living entities are suffering or enjoying the results of their activities from time immemorial, but they can change the results of karma, or their activity, and this change depends on the perfection of knowledge. The effects of karma may be very old. They do not know what sort of activities they should adopt to gain release from the actions and reactions of all activities. This knowledge is explained in the Bhagavad-gita.

When the living entity is in material consciousness, he has to take on various bodies in the material world. That is called karma or varied creation by the force of material consciousness. According to his identification with material or spiritual nature, he receives a material or spiritual body. In material nature he may take a body from any of the 8,400,000 species of life, but in spiritual nature he has only one body. In material nature he is manifested sometimes as a man, demigod, animal, beast, bird, etc., according to his karma (action). As the soul thus migrates, he suffers the actions and reactions of his past activities. These actions can be changed when the living being is in the mode of goodness, in stability, and understands what sort of activities he should implement. If he does so, then all the actions and reactions of his past activities can be changed. Consequently, karma is not eternal. Therefore of the five items (Ishvara, jiva, prakruti, time and karma) four are eternal, whereas karma is not eternal.

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To attain heavenly planets and enjoy their facilities, one sometimes performs sacrifices (yajna), but when his merit is exhausted he returns to earth again. This process is called karma.

Fruitive endeavors to enjoy one’s actions are also called karma. One is always involved in actions in this world. No one can be without work. All of us have to act at least to maintain this body. In the Bhagavad-gita, the Supreme Lord gives us knowledge through which we can gain freedom from reactions of these activities and engage only in non-reactive action called akarma.

Related Links: Why Bhagavad-gita As It Is | Glories of Reading Bhagavad-gita

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