Don’t just read the Gita – heed the Gita
The Bhagavad-gita is a profoundly philosophical book, yet it is also an eminently action-calling book. This pragmatic nature of the Gita is seen in its conclusion (18.73): Arjuna tells Krishna, “I will do your will.”
This voluntary harmonization of the human will with the divine will is the essential purpose for which the Gita was spoken. And it is the purpose that should underlie our reading of the Gita: “Amidst my opportunities and problems, how can I do Krishna’s will?”
See heeding the Gita not as an exercise in unwilling submission but as a festival of loving reciprocation
If we read the Gita and then go on with our life as if no change were needed, then we deprive ourselves of most of the blessings that Gita study offers. Yes, contact with Krishna through his words in any form, even a cursory reading or just a casual touch, offers some benefits. The Gita is akin to a legendary herbal medicine that just by placing in a room spreads a healing fragrance. Yet just as the medicine offers full benefit when it is properly ingested, similarly Gita study offers full benefit when we heed what we read.
And heeding the Gita is not all that difficult, especially when we read it with a devotional disposition. The Gita is not a law-book coming from a dictator who wants to dominate us – it is a guidebook coming from a benevolent God who wants to liberate us. By reading the Gita, we understand that we are souls, who are parts of Krishna and can find the highest happiness by loving him. When we grasp how much Krishna loves us and how much he wants us to rejoice in his love, we see heeding the Gita not as an exercise in unwilling submission but as a festival of loving reciprocation – a festival that will ultimately elevate us to Krishna’s immortal world of love.
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