8th December is Gita Jayanti or the birth anniversary of the scripture Bhagvat-Gita. It occurs on the Eka-dashi, or 11th tithi (day) of the Shukla-paksha (fortnight of waxing moon) of Margashirsha month of the Hindu almanac. The corresponding dates for the next two Gregorian years are given below.
2019 – 08 December
2020 – 25th December
2021 – 14 December
“BhagavadGita” was revealed to Arjuna by Krishna Himself in the battlefield of Kurukshetra.
“BhagavadGita” literally means “God-Song or Song of God. Commonly, it is referred to as just ‘Gita’. The word is pronounced ending with the same sound — aa — in Sanskrit as well as English unlike Ramayan / Ramayana, Ram / Rama, Krishn / Krishna etc.
Amongst all of the several scriptures in Hinduism, Gita is the most commonly known and used across the various denominations. Till independence, most oaths, in thke court-rooms and elsewhere, were taken on Gita. If Gita was not available, a person would hold Ganga water in palm for pledges.
Gita has been translated in to several languages and is the most translated Asian work. There are over 250 translations in to English. The one by Gita Press could be a good starting point. Some of the major ones are by — Swami Prabhupada’ (ISKCON), Annie Besant & Bhagavan Das (Theosophical Society).
Besides the translations, there are several commentaries also. There are almost 250 commentaries in Sanskrit language alone. Each of them is a book in itself. Dnyaneshwari was the first commentary on Gita written in Marathi, the main language in western India. Other notable commentaries are by — Adi Shankara, Acharya Vinoba Bhave, Paramhans Yogananda. The commentaries by Sri Aurobindo are the most prolific ones and could be considered as the most erudite one.
Although, the “BhagavadGita” is only one, there are several other ancient scriptures ending with the word Gita. Ashtavakra Gita is an example. Guru Gita is yet another one that shot to prominence when actress Julia Roberts talked about it in the Hollywood movie “Eat, Pray, Love”.
Haridwar is connected to “BhagavadGita” in several ways, some being mentioned below.
- Ved Vyasa – BhagavadGita is part of the larger scripture named Maha-Bharata which is poem several times longer than Iliad and Odyssey combined. Vyasa is connected to Gita in 2 ways. It was composed by Sage Vyasa who lived in Haridwar. Vyasa petitioned Shiva for help with writing Mahabharata. Shiva sent his son Ganesha to help Vyasa. Ganesha broke the tip of one of his tusks to fashion a writing-quill. Vyasa started narrating and Ganesha started writing. It is for this reason, in terms of iconography, all images of Ganesha depict uneven lengths of the tusks. Another narration was happening when charioteer Sanjaya was giving a real-time remote commentary of the battle, and Gita to Dhritarashtra who were situated away from the battle-field. Vyasa was Guru of Sanjaya and his blessings enabled Sanjaya.
- Vishnu visited Har-ki-paidi at Haridwar and his foot-prints can be seen there. Krishna was the 9th Avatar of Vishnu.
- Temple – There is a temple in Haridwar that has its presiding deity as Gita
Although there is no significance of Rishikesh to Gita, the place hosts ‘Gita Bhavan’ near to Parmarth Niketan. It has a large number of murals depicting the whole story of Gita. Gita Bhavan is managed by Gita Press, Gorakhpur which is a unique publications house.
Gita: Ancient or Modern?
The Gita Press publishes only ‘modern’ scriptures of Sanatana Dharma. They do not publish the Vedas. Gita is the most modern of all ancient scriptures! Krishna departed his human body circa 3000 B.C. That marked the end of the 3rd epoch and beginning of the fourth and the last epoch named ‘Kal Yuga’. On this scale, one can appreciate the modernity and relevance of Gita.
Some Buddhist texts refer to Buddha as the tenth Avatar of Vishnu.
Moses came about a thousand years after Krishna. The last Avatar Brahmic beliefs was ahead of Moses, the first prophet of Abrahmic faiths.
Gita and Yoga
The word ‘Yog’ appears about 150 times in Bhagvad-Gita. Yoga in true sense encompasses the whole life and involves a variety of meditations. Physical exercises are only a tiny and preparatory aspect of Yoga.
Gita has 18 chapters. Almost each can be considered as an elaboration of a certain Yoga, directly or indirectly.
I. THE DEJECTION OF ARJUNA, II. SANKHYAYOGA, III. KARMAYOGA, IV. TOWARDS THE YOGA OF KNOWLEDGE, V. THE YOGA OF RENUNCIATION, VI. THE YOGA OF THE SUPREME SPIRIT, VII. THE YOGA OF KNOWLEDGE, VIII. THE IMMUTABLE BRAHMAN, IX. THE KING-KNOWLEDGE, THE KING-SECRET, X. GOD IN POWER OF BECOMING, XI. THE VISION OF THE WORLD-SPIRIT, XII. BHAKTIYOGA, XIII. THE FIELD AND ITS KNOWER, XIV. THE THREE GUNAS, XV. THE SUPREME DIVINE, XVI DEVA AND ASURA, XVII. FAITH AND THE THREE GUNAS, XVIII. RENUNCIATION AND MOKSHA
Gita Yoga and Free Market Yoga
Gita lays down various kinds of Yoga, as shown below.
In the Western world, the free market has led to variety of kinds of Yoga, as shown below.
Some examples of the Free Market Yoga are given below.
Aerial yoga, Agni Yoga, Ananda Yoga, AntiGravity Fitness, Anuyoga, Aqua Yoga, Ashtanga vinyasa yoga, Bando yoga, Beer yoga, Bikram Yoga, Cardiac yoga, Chair Yoga, Competitive yoga, Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga, Body & Brain, Doga (yoga), Dream yoga, Foodie yoga, Goat yoga, Harry Potter Yoga, HeavyWeight Yoga, Horseback Yoga, Hot yoga, Iyengar Yoga, Kitten yoga, Kum Nye, Kundalini yoga, Laughter yoga, Nāda yoga, Nude / Naked yoga, Paddle board yoga, PiYo, Pop-up yoga, Power Yoga, Pranava yoga, Puppy yoga, Restorative Yoga, Sloth yoga, Strala yoga, Stripper Pole Yoga, Stroga, (SUP) Stand Up Paddle Boarding Yoga, Tantrum Yoga, Toe-ga, Trauma-sensitive yoga, Viniyoga, Wine yoga, Yin Yoga, Yoga as therapy, Yoga for children, Yoga raves.
No, Tantrum Yoga is not singular form of Tantra Yoga.
50 (plus 21) shades of gender
Facebook UK used to provide 50 options of choosing one’s gender. After successful run in the US, 21 more options were added –
Female to male trans man, Female to male transgender man, Female to male transsexual man, F2M, Gender neutral, Hermaphrodite, Intersex man, Intersex person, Intersex woman, Male to female trans woman Male to female transgender woman, Male to female transsexual woman, Man, M2F, Polygender, T* man, T* woman, Two* person, Two-spirit person, Woman, Agender, Androgyne, Androgynes, Androgynous, Bigender, Cis, Cis Female, Cis Male, Cis Man, Cis Woman, Cisgender, Cisgender Female, Cisgender Male, Cisgender Man, Cisgender Woman, Female to Male, FTM, Gender Fluid, Gender Nonconforming, Gender Questioning, Gender Variant, Genderqueer, Intersex, Male to Female, MTF, Neither, Neutrois, Non-binary, Other, Pangender, Trans, Trans Female, Trans Male, Trans Man, Trans Person, Trans*Female, Trans*Male, Trans*Man, Trans*Person, Trans*Woman, Transexual, Transexual Female, Transexual Male, Transexual Man, Transexual Person, Transexual Woman, Transgender Female, Transgender Person, Transmasculine, Two-spirit.
An option of a non-binary gender has been added in the British government system.
Innovations in Free Market Yoga
All these new styles of Yoga are happening as there must be a need in the free-markets where Yoga is just another option of choosing physical exercises at a gymnasium. However, it is not certain that the free markets always move in the right directions.
In the nature, evolution ensures survival of the fittest. Yet, there was a time evolution of dinosaurs was happening in a freaky way — mouths like platypus etc.
Dinosaurs belong to a group known as archosaurs, which also includes modern crocodilians. Fossils of dinosaurs have been found in Haridwar. Crocodiles are still thriving in Haridwar — there are 2 sanctuaries and couple of years ago, a big crocodile was found in the busy part of Birla Ghat.
Understanding trends in Yoga
A newer way to categorise Yoga could be considered, with 3 levels —
Perspiritual Yoga – The synthetic term ‘Perspiritual’ pertains to perspiration. Almost all of the Yoga of the gymnasium kind falls in this category. It primarily involves physical exercises.
Spiritual Yoga — Removing letters ‘Per’ from ‘Perspiritual’ yields Yoga that has less emphasis on the body releasing band-width for spiritual work.
Ritual Yoga — Removing further 3 letters of ‘Spi’ from ‘Spiritual’ yields pure ‘Ritual’ Yoga.
Agile Vajra of Yog
All forms of Yoga should be equally welcomed. Centuries ago, in a much popular philosophical discussion between Shankaracharya and Mandana Mishra, it was conclusively settled that spiritual is far superior than ritual. Yet, we propose a model having an interface between the two.
On this day of Gita-Jayanti marking the birth of the text Bhagvadgita, it may be worthwhile to pause and think of influencing evolution of Yoga and meditation in newer paradigms.