Jai: Grandma, I have
a hard time understanding the teachings
of the Bhagavad-Gita. Would you help
Of course, Jai, I will be glad
to. You should know that this holy book
teaches us how to live happily in the
world. It is an ancient holy book of
Hindu Dharma (also known as Sanatana
Dharma or Hinduism), but it can be understood
and followed by people of any faith.
The Gita has eighteen (18) chapters
and a total of only 700 verses. Anyone
can be helped by daily practice of only
a few of its teachings.
The word ‘Bhagavad’
means God or The Supreme Lord, Bhagavan
in Sanskrit. ‘Gita’ means
song. Thus The Bhagavad-Gita
means the Song of God or the Sacred
Song, because it was sung by Bhagavan
Shri Krishna himself.
Here is the introduction
to the Gita:
In ancient times there was
a king who had two sons, Dhritarashtra
and Pandu. The former was born blind;
therefore, Pandu inherited the kingdom.
Pandu had five sons. They were called
the Pandavas. Dhritarashtra had one
hundred sons. They were called the Kauravas.
Duryodhana was the eldest of the Kauravas.
After the death of king Pandu, his
eldest son, Yudhisthira, became the
lawful King. Duryodhana was very jealous.
He also wanted the kingdom. The kingdom
was divided into two halves between
the Pandavas and the Kauravas. Duryodhana
was not satisfied with his share. He
wanted the entire kingdom for himself.
He tried several evil plots to kill
the Pandavas and take away their kingdom.
Somehow he took over the entire kingdom
of the Pandavas and refused to give
it back without a war. All peace talks
by Lord Krishna and others failed, so
the big war of Mahabharata could not
The Pandavas didn’t want to
fight, but they had only two choices:
fight for their right because it was
their duty or run away from war and
accept defeat for the sake of peace
and nonviolence. Arjuna, one
of the five Pandava brothers, faced
this choice in the battlefield.
He had to choose between fighting the
war and killing his most revered guru,
who was on the other side; his very
dear friends, close relatives, and many
innocent warriors; or running away from
the battlefield to be peaceful and nonviolent.
The entire eighteen chapters of the
Gita are the talk between confused Arjuna
and his best friend, mentor and cousin,
Lord Krishna --- an incarnation of God
--- on the battlefield of Kurukshetra
near New Delhi, India, about 5,100 years
ago. This conversation was reported
to the blind king, Dhritarashtra, by
his charioteer, Sanjay. It is recorded
in the great epic, Mahabharata.
All lives, human or nonhuman, are
sacred, and nonviolence or Ahimsa is
one of the most basic principles of
Hinduism. So when Lord Krishna advises
Arjuna to get up and fight, this may
confuse you about the principle of Ahimsa
if you don’t keep in mind the
background of the war of Mahabharata.
This spiritual talk between
the Supreme Lord, Krishna, and His devotee-friend,
Arjuna, occurs not in a temple, a lonely
forest, or on a mountain top, but on
a battlefield on the eve of a war.
Jai: This is an interesting
story, Grandma. Can you tell me more?
Grandma: If you come to where
I sit every evening, Jai, I will tell
you the whole story, one chapter each
day. Just make sure your homework is
done and you have time to listen. If
you agree, let’s start tomorrow.
Jai: Thank you, Grandma.
I’ll be there to hear more.