Emanating, as it does, from the mouth of the Lord, the Bhagvadgita or the Gita, as it is popularly known the world over, has been a perennial source of inspiration to millions and millions of mankind from times immemorial. The Gita is the epitome of all scriptures – sarva shastramayi gita (Mahabharat – Bhishma Parv, 44.4). It would not be an exaggeration, therefore, if a true interpreter of the Gita claims to have grasped the truths underlying the various scriptures.
The Gita gives to the mankind a unique message of the philosophy of action. Contrary to some mistaken beliefs, it rejects neither action nor this world and has an abounding faith in the upliftment of the toiling humanity. In the Gita, when Lord Krishna exhorts the reluctant Arjuna to fight, He, metaphorically, exhorts the entire humanity to take up fight against the odd struggles of day-to-day life. Whenever a person, deluded by the complexities of life, faces the ultimate question - to do or not to do, he or she can find his/her solutions in the teachings of the Gita. Thus we find that the Gita can serve as a practical guide to the tormented mankind to find the right path when faced with the most challenging circumstances of life. It is for this reason that the teachings of the Gita have an everlasting appeal and relevance to the suffering humanity.
Numerous commentaries have already been written on the Gita and as such, this writer cannot claim to add anything new to what has been told in the most glowing terms by eminent scholars and dharmacharyas about the teachings of the Gita. The intention of the present study, therefore, is not to write any fresh commentary on the Gita – paraphrasing the verses and explaining the complex terminology applied therein, which are normally incomprehensible to a common reader but to present a lucid exposition of the spiritual thought underlying these verses.
The teachings of the Gita are linked to a mythical story of the Mahabharat (Bhishma Parva), wherein in the unusual background of a battlefield Lord Krishna imparts to Arjuna, confused and bewildered by the sight of his own kiths and kins ready to fight him, the gospel of the Gita. The spiritual thought, as mentioned above, gradually develops as the story progresses and reaches its consummation in the last chapter. The extent and scope of the present study will, therefore, be to trace the development of this spiritual thought underlying 700 verses spread over eighteen chapters. For the sake of clarity and convenience, these chapters will be taken one by one.