Bhagavad Gita has 701 verse and 18 chapters.
Chapter 1 – verse 1
Please hear to the first verse – to get an idea. This is the rhythm used while reading the verses.
This verse starts with,
Bhagavad gita starts with the word Dharma and ends with the word Mama.
This is verse 1 of chapter 1
māmakāḥ pāṇḍavāś caiva
Let us see what is this word dharma – which is given so much importance that the Bhagavad Gita starts with this word.
There is no single meaning for this word. Normally, it is referred to as one’s duty. In other words,dharma means duty of the human being.
Every human being wants to do the duty for which he has taken this birth. But how to understand the purpose of our life?
We should listen to our heart and not to our mind.
If you are reading my articles regularly then you will be clear by now that the self / super power/ God is within us. It is in the heart i.e not literally heart but in the middle of the chest between the breast. See the picture below – Hanuman is showing Lord Rama in the middle of the chest. This is where our soul is.
If we don’t think then we can hear what our heart or soul is saying to us. We need to listen to that and follow the actions as per the soul – this is our duty / dharma.
The soul will guide us to achieve the purpose of life.
Unfortunately, we are all the time thinking and listening to the mind and we just forget to listen to the soul. And we follow the mind. Which is mostly against the soul. If we do things against the soul then we are unhappy.
Say for example, we have 2 roads to be taken. We definitely know within which is the right route. But, we will listen to the mind and take a different route. We will give so many excuses to convince ourself like that route had more light, more people etc. Some excuse. Believe me who ever talks about the various reasons why they did something clearly indicates that they have followed the mind which is against the soul. They keep finding reasons to justify their stand. Can get reconciled with these reasons but will not be happy.
We can be happy only when we follow the heart.
Then the next question is – How do we know it is mind or heart which is talking?
Believe me, all of us know what is right? and what is wrong? We do things after knowing. Even if we are a criminal – for a split second (fraction of a second) he is with the heart or soul and it will guide him right. Unfortunately, he will think so much and will not listen to the self.
Similarly, we are all connected to the self. We need to pay attention to it. It is possible only when we don’t think.
If you are confused – just stop thinking ; you will get the answer.
This listening to the heart and stopping the mind is the real meditation. Which we can do 24×7. If we keep doing it – one day the heart will guide us to sit down and do a deep meditation.
Doing the duty after listening to the heart cannot be thought ; actually it should not be thought; it cannot be understood – it can only be felt and it has to come naturally.
Normally, Dharma is defined as duty. So people try to find out what is the right duty. Actually, duty varies with age and with time and season. Say as a child our duty was different and as an adult it is different. Duty of a man is different from a women.
We cannot define ones duty ; actually we should not. Say I feel I need to write. My heart is guiding. I don’t know why? but I am doing. There are people who might think this is waste of time and I could use this time of writing for my self development spiritually. May be for them that is the dharma but for me this is the dharma.
The point is dharma can be different for different people. Something appears as right for you may not be right for someone else.
Many a times we cannot understand why the heart is guiding us towards something. This is beyond our understanding. Only thing is that we need to believe and have faith that the heart is the soul / God and it will guide us in the right direction.
If some one asks – something to you – suddenly -what is your reaction – when you are confused? Ah…you are shocked. You just stop thinking when you are confused. This stopping of thinking will give you the answer.
There are some times you may have to decide between 2 alternatives. Say in my case – to take care of the house or blogging. The rule is ” Dharma starts at home”. My first duty is to take of the home. Here home has 2 meanings. One – the home of the divine (my body). Two – My house.
So I need to first take care of my home i.e myself and my house. After that I can blog.
If I have to take the decision of blogging or meditation. Whatever the heart guides me at that time.
If I have to decide between sadhana (yoga or meditation) or my kids. The dharma starts at home – so my kids and then only sadhana. Even sadhana comes after home.
Say it is my dharma to take care of my family. I need to finish all the work. Normally, I sit for blogging only when all my work is perfectly completed without complaints Suppose, I am writing and my husband comes from office – I feel it is my dharma to get up and serve his food. Somebody might feel – “I have cooked my food and with that my dharma is over”. The family has to take and eat. It might work in some families then that is your dharma.
Suppose, I am unwell and I am lying down. I somehow made some food. My husband is coming home. I don’t have to get up and serve him. As dharma starts at home i.e I need to take care of my health first before doing my other duties.
Don’t physically strain yourself to follow the heart. Happiness is the aim of our life.
By listening to the heart don’t hurt others. Say my husband like to eat only chapattis for dinner. There are days when I have some other work like cleaning etc. then, I will like to give him rice (as I feel it is easy to cook). My heart will say ” go head and make rice – today you did so much of work”‘ – may be make a side dish which is the favourite of my husband to compensate. At that time, my mind can say ” hey ! he is going to shout at you saying – why did you do so much of cleaning etc”. Don’t pay attention to the mind go head and serve the rice. He will not say anything. If you keep thinking otherwise and serve the rice – he might say something. But, I cannot do this daily. Listening to the heart and not paying attention to the likes of others. Actually, the heart will not guide to be against my husbands likes. Mostly, it guides me to take care of his likes. It guides me against when it feels my health is more important may be only then.
I am explaining these to convey the point – Dharma starts at home.
Normally, we have guilt of the past mistakes made.
Never look back. If you identify the errors of the past and keep thinking about it; there is every chance that you will repeat it again.
But sometimes to just think for a while to correct the mistake is not wrong. This will improve your personality. Don’t think with guilt. Think to correct yourself so that the mistake is not repeated. Ignoring is also best sometimes.
All of us make mistakes – don’t look back.
Normally, karma yoga is suggested to get over the guilty of mistakes. If we have guilt we are away from the self because we are thinking about it all the time. If we serve or help others – then we will feel satisfied that we have done something to offset the mistake. This karma yoga will help us to connect to the self again.
People will take some karma (helping others) with great interest in the beginning. Later, it might demand more time and effort than expected. They will not feel happy to do it. The purpose of karma yoga is to feel happy and connect to the self. If we are going to feel unhappy about it – then it will disconnect from the self. Already we are disconnected because of the guilt now this unhappiness too. If we unhappy doing any karma – just step out.
I am sure when we start some work – there will be people who will expect something from us. Never mind – if you are feeling unhappy – walk out.
If you continue with this unhapiness then you will rescind the people you are helping. Thinking bad about the people you are helping. These things will not help you to connect to the soul. So just step out. Do karma yoga only when you feel happy doing it.
You will do karma yoga only when you have finished all the dharma at home and everything is in order.
Helping others like giving them food and clothes is not karma yoga. Say somebody is at your doorstep and you give him food. Then may be some clothes. May be you give him some job. Then, he might ask for a colour TV and mobile. Just think – is this the karma that you want to do. Help others – it is humanity but it is not karma yoga.
The best karma yoga is to teach others of the knowledge gained. Even this knowledge should not be given rather it has to be taken. Teach people who are asking for it. Don’t force it on others.
We have happiness inside all the time with us. Just go inside and see.
We feel unhappy when we don’t pay attention to this happiness. We normally search for it outside.
Don’t think – just do the job in front of you ; this is good spirituality.
Don’t resist to do any work or don’t wait for somebody else to do. Just do the work in front of you.
You don’t have to be workaholic. Workoholic will do the work with unhapiness or do it with lot of effort. Here, we will do the work with calmness and happiness.
If we do the work without resistance. Then this will give freedom.
If we eat the food it is the dharma to clean the dirty dishes. Don’t resist – just do it.
While talking about dharma – we need to understand the need vs desire.
What is that we need and what is that we desire?
There is nothing wrong if we have a desire. Don’t chase – understand that you have this desire. If it comes on your way – enjoy it. Don’t chase.
If we can have higher desires like Love, beauty, understanding, growth – then we will have more freedom .
So the Second Lesson : Don’t think; follow your heart – that is the dharma.
- Dharma starts at home.
- Happiness is always within us.
- Don’t feel guilty – don’t think of the past mistakes.
- Can do karma yoga to compensate. But with complete happiness.
- Understand need vs desire. Don’t chase desire.
- Have higher desires.
- If we listen to the heart we will achieve the purpose of life.
- Listening to the heart is the real meditation.
- To recollect -First lesson : We should hardly think. Everything should come from within. We need to change the concepts inside and not keep thinking to do the right thing.
- Second lesson –Don’t think; follow your heart – that is the dharma.