By: C. S. Dinesh
“The Bhagwad Gita is the most systematic scriptural statement of the Perennial Philosophy,” wrote Sri Narasimha Swamiji in his monumental work – ‘Life of Sai Baba. Popularized by Hemad Pant through Sai Satcharita, the term ‘Perennial Philosophy’ of Sai Parabrahman recognizes the highest common core or the essence of all religions regarding the ultimate purpose of human life. The purpose is to achieve a mystical or experiential union of oneself with the Supreme Being – ‘Tat tvam asi’ – That Thou Art.
The Gita indeed is a complete work on the science of spirituality that encompasses divergent themes like Samkhya – Jnana, Karma, Bhakti and Dhyana arranged most systematically. It presents to its devotee a vision of the Lord Supreme, tells him how to discover Him, recognize Him in His true nature and magnitude, merge in Him, and how to attain the Ultimate Beatitude. Sai Baba asks us –
“You may ask where I am now and how I can meet you now. But I am within s us -your heart and we can meet without any effort”. – Shri Sai Baba (Chap 44, Ovi 162)
Right at the eleventh hour when the war is about to begin, Arjuna, seeing his venerable preceptors, sires and grandsires, sons and grandsons on the battlefield, is tormented at the thought of fratricidal carnage and bloodshed that would occur. Thus, laden with sorrow, he sits on the chariot, dropping his bow and arrows.
Seeing Arjuna’s reluctance to fight, Krishna feels that it ill-behooves a warrior to show such impotent feeble-heartedness and impresses upon the Pandava prince to pick up his arms. When despite all efforts, Krishna is not able to rid Arjuna of his mental agony and motivate him to fight, he decides that the time is ripe to impart profound spiritual knowledge to the Pandava prince, to enable him to see things from a different perspective.
If you recite ‘Sai, Sai,’ always, I will take you beyond the seven seas. If you believe in these words, you will be certainly benefitted”. – (Chap 13, Ovi 11-13).
Krishna first says to Arjun: “Thou hast grieved for those that should not be grieved for, yet thou speakest words of wisdom. The wise grieve neither for the living nor the dead.” The implication behind these words of wisdom is that death is nothing more than the disintegration of matter and merging of the five elements, of which the body is composed, in its source.
Krishna further says: “Never was there a time when I was not, nor thou, nor these lords of men, nor verily will there ever be a time hereafter when we shall cease to be.” This statement suggests that the soul is immortal and the Supreme Self that dwells within is imperishable. The soul exists in three periods of time – past, present and future – and man continues to exist even after the death of the physical body. That which is born dies, and that which dies is born again. Like the wheels of a water clock, this cycle continues. Or as sunrise and sunset follow each other, so in this world birth and death are inevitable.
Having uttered these words of wisdom, Krishna advises Arjuna to cast away wrong understanding from his mind; it is better to lay down one’s life on the battlefield than not participate in it at all. Those who get killed on the battlefield enjoy the pleasures of heaven simply because they did not abandon their duty. And if you emerge victorious in the battle, you will be greatly honored on the earth and the deed of your bravery will spread far and wide. Therefore, gird your loins, free your mind of deception, and plunge into the battle with all your might.
This is the jnana, the wisdom of the Samkhya, which Krishna imparts to Arjuna.
“That you made us drink the nectar of your life story and awakened us
From our slumber is due to your grace. Isn’t this something extraordinary”
(Sai Satcharita Chapter 25, Ovi 117-121)