The Gita is the representative literature of Indic civilization. No other work encompasses in itself, to the extent it is possible, the historical development of the people in philosophy, culture and metaphysics, ethics and literature. The essence of Vedanta connecting the thread of wisdom, its sutra, from the Vedas and the Upanishads weaves the essential fabric of this Ultimate Upanishad. Nor is the Gita solely dedicated to Vedanta only. It synthetises in itself the philosophy of Sankhya, even its atheistic dualistic darshana, integrates the movements of Vaishnava bhakti in its discourse, absorbs the essence of yoga and karma yoga, and builds them into a vast comprehensive experience and vision.

It is not only a masterly exposition of philosophy, metaphysics, dialectics and cosmology but also poetry that is inspired and illuminating. Each shloka touches not only the mind but also the heart and the senses; it gives a cognitive and esthetic taste of the holistic development of an individual that is called yoga.

On a more experiential level, the Gita is the spiritual journey of the individual. Beginning at a point when its representative man is bewildered with the overwhelming nature of the war he finds himself in, unable to come to terms with its enormous implications and his own dharma, it moves chapter by chapter as a stage in the growth of the yogi to the final revelation. If we study the schema of its eighteen chapters we see an externally-oriented practical man growing in Gyana and bhakti and we realize as we study the scripture, it is our own adhyatmik journey too. The Gita is our story, in more ways than one.

Each shloka leads the student through growing insights, revelation by revelation. The approach is integral, leaving no aspect of life that is crucial to the overall development of an individual, or the nation, in a life-affirming manner that takes the challenges of life and transforms them into a journey of ‘consciousness and joy’.

The Gita describes too a crucial moment in the evolution of an age. It is not just individual but also cosmic and transcendental, dealing with universal and eternal truths. Eventually, the Gita is our sharpening and subtilization of awareness, the unveiling of an individual to himself as he grows as a complete person. The individual seen as the microcosm of the Universe, a hologram for the scientifically-minded, is the focus of the Gita but in doing so it incorporates all life and turns it into yoga.

What the protagonist of the book realizes the age reveals to the nation. And by nation I do not mean a parochial idea of a country, its geography, but the people, their culture, their most central ‘idea’, their story and their ‘soul’. The Gita is the revelation of a grand and wise encompassing vision and darshana to the world, to its own innumerable adherents and people, and a ‘decisive action’ of synthesis in the clash of forces that it describes.

The significance of the Gita is much bigger than to a certain religion or country alone. It is truly the Mahabharata, the epic of the unfolding of a civilization not only externally but at much deeper and occult levels. Each individual having a role in its epiphany is not just fighting a physical battle but is himself or herself a battlefield in the struggles of conflicting psychologies, layers of consciousness buried within, and the progressive manifestation of the Divine outside and internally. The Gita is much bigger than a metaphysical text; it is the understanding of the dharma-yuddha, the war between forces of light and of dark, of the Divine and the asuric.

Indian philosophy has always maintained that the Truth is inherent in us, as a seed, a Divine spark, what we may call our psychic being or our soul. It was the insight of the Vedas that this seed is also buried in the most unconscious depths of our inconscient and physical world and the journey of the earth historically is the progressive revelation of that truth through the dialectics and struggle of forces.

The thesis and antithesis eventually become the synthesis according to Hegel. But the synthesis is not just on the surface or physical. It involves also the psychology of the age, its unknown or unseen tectonic shifts in universal awareness. Much happens behind the scenes at an occult level. Thus, the eighteen days of battle is only a symbol of something happening to all of us and in all of us, individually and collectively. Nor is the physical battle the only depiction of the yuddha. As Sri Krishna shows us the battle is on a universal scale with a vast and cosmic scope.

This battle happens as a new consciousness appears globally opposed by forces of darkness and unenregenerate movements. And the Gita holds all of this understanding together in its expansive sight and gives us the crucial clues to help us unravel the mysteries and challenges of existence, in all its various expressions.

DISCLAIMER: The author is solely responsible for the views expressed in this article. The author carries the responsibility for citing and/or licensing of images utilized within the text.