The Gita raises our consciousness from jagat to jiva to Jagadisha

The Gita is a complex philosophical book. Simultaneously, it is a practical spiritual guide. When we understand its essential concepts, we can discerns its guidelines amidst its philosophical exposition.

Echoing the themes of the Upanishads, Gita wisdom indicates that existence can be explained essentially in terms of three truths (tattva-traya). These can be expressed as the alliterative threefold: jagat (the material world), jiva (the soul) and Jagadisha (the supreme controller, the source of everything).

The Gita’s message is essentially meant to raise our consciousness from the material level to the spiritual level. Initially, Arjuna’s consciousness is at the level of the jagat – he is distressed by contemplating about the material consequences of his choices (01.32-25) and is confused about of his material identifications is the most important.

The Gita raises our consciousness to the level of jiva by explaining that we are non-material spiritual beings within our bodies (02.13). By acting with awareness of our spiritual identity – such aware action means acting with detachment from worldly pleasures and results – one can become atmavan (02.46), enriched with realization of our spiritual identity.

The Gita’s first five chapters primarily delineate karma-yoga to raise our consciousness to the jiva level. The sixth chapter outlines how such yoga of action is meant to prepare us for embracing dhyana-yoga, which comprises renunciation and contemplation. Significantly, this chapter concludes with the declaration that the topmost yogis are those whose minds are naturally absorbed in Jagadisha (06.47).

And the next verse (07.01) begins the Gita’s central bhakti section that outlines an alternative, preferable way of bhakti-yoga for making our mind attached to Krishna. After expounding variously the glory of Jagadisha and of devotion to him, the Gita concludes with a categorical call to surrender single-mindedly to our all-attractive source and Lord.

Thus, the Gita can help our consciousness rise to its zenith.


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