Why the Gita is misunderstood — and how it can be understood

Suppose we want to talk with someone who has closed body language. We hesitate in opening up to them because we don’t know what will trigger them. In contrast, those with open body language invite us to connect more freely. Might a similar dynamic apply when we approach the Bhagavad-gita? 

If we approach the Gita with a closed mind, wherein we already have a fixed worldview and a fixed opinion about where the Gita fits into that worldview, then the Gita remains closed to us. Some people who see the Indian tradition as forever corrupted by the discriminatory caste system see the Gita as a text that reinforces that system, although it clearly states that caste is to be determined by virtues and vocations (04.13) — not by birth. Others who hold that religion leads to violence believe that the Gita instigates a peace-seeking leader to violence, although the Gita urges us to become free from revengefulness and possessiveness, which are usually the major causes of violence (03.30).

While our attitude in studying any book determines how much we get out of that book, this applies especially to the Gita. Why? Because the Gita manifests the wisdom, the love and indeed the presence of the all-attractive supreme person, Krishna. He reciprocates with us based on how we approach him (04.11) — and so does the Gita. 

When we study the Gita open-mindedly, it manifests universal spiritual wisdom that integrates equality, fraternity, liberty — values that are cherished by the contemporary ethos. Not only that, the Gita equips us with resources to manifest our best self and to experience as well express divine love. And in that world of loving service, we are intuitively guided to find the deepest fulfillment internally while making the optimum contribution externally. 

One-sentence summary: 

The Gita opens to us to the extent we open to it. 

Think it over:

  • Why is the Gita often misunderstood?
  • What are two typical misunderstandings about the Gita? How are they falsified by studying the Gita?
  • What is the gift of open-minded Gita study?

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04.11: As all surrender unto Me, I reward them accordingly. Everyone follows My path in all respects, O son of Prutha.

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1 Comment

  1. GITA is imperceptible,so its revered

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