Skip to main content

Lessons from Bhagavad Gita Jaya Row Swami Mukundananda

Program Updates / April 04, 2021

Lessons from Bhagavad Gita that will change your life forever excerpted from a scintillating conversation between Gita Scholar Jaya Row of Vedanta Vision and Swami Mukundananda, global spiritual leader, JKYog founder.They share their favorite verses, inspirations to spread the knowledge of this holy text, practical tools for daily life, parenting tips and much more!

JKYog International Festival of Gita Highlights

The Grand Finale of the JKYog International Gita Festival celebrations (March 15th-21st, 2021) was a culmination of weeklong Bhagavad Gita discussions, Bhagavad Gita recitation, exciting contests, and presentations on this sublime holy text. People worldwide learned not just the spiritual significance of the Bhagavad Gita but also the practical applications for a successful life.

The event was highly appreciated by the global community for the immense value it provided and most of all for the enlightening conversation on valuable life lessons from the Bhagavad Gita for everyday life between Gita Scholar Jaya Row and Swami Mukundananda, global spiritual leader and Vedic Scholar. The discussion was moderated ably by JKYog volunteer Pranay Mittal, whose insightful questions echoed the philosophical quandaries of viewers and thereby heightened the experience of fulfillment from the session.

We present here some handy takeaways from this delightful conversation that you can refer to for your benefit.

Lessons from Bhagavad Gita: Do Your Best Without Worrying About Outcomes

Everyone has a favorite verse from the Bhagavad Gita, even Swami Mukundananda and Jaya Row!

Jaya Row, quoted Chapter 6 Verse 1:

śhrī bhagavān uvācha

anāśhritaḥ karma-phalaṁ kāryaṁ karma karoti yaḥ

sa sannyāsī cha yogī cha na niragnir na chākriyaḥ

The Supreme Lord said: Those who perform prescribed duties without desiring the results of their actions are actual sanyāsīs (renunciates) and yogis, not those who have merely ceased performing sacrifices such as agni-hotra yajña or abandoned bodily activities. – Chapter 6, Verse 1

She mentioned that if renunciation were as easy as changing our wardrobe, we would all be renunciants. The real yogi is not one who is selfish or ceases action, but one who delivers his best in the present without worrying about the outcome as that is not in our control. In so doing we gain the inherent result of happiness in the present simply doing our best in a detached way.

Lessons from Bhagavad Gita: Purify Your Intention

Swami Mukundananda first acknowledged that choosing just one verse was a difficult choice to make. Then setting the context for his favorite verse, he went on to explain that while the biggest business schools teach how to work well, through a plethora of techniques such as management science, psychology, organizational behavior, MBOs and leadership theory, they fail to focus on the most important part – the why – the intention behind doing the work. He highlighted that the reason for the pervasive “executive’s disease” of stress is due to impure attention, arising from selfish attachment to outcomes – we tend to work for our own sake. Referring Chapter 9 Verse 27, Swamiji mentioned that God wants us to perform our work as a sacrifice to Him. When we work in this spirit, we naturally put in our best in service realizing that our work is fulfilling a higher divine purpose. We see others as tiny divine fragments of the Lord and seek to serve them as well.

yat karoṣhi yad aśhnāsi yaj juhoṣhi dadāsi yat

yat tapasyasi kaunteya tat kuruṣhva mad-arpaṇam

Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer as oblation to the sacred fire, whatever you bestow as a gift, and whatever austerities you perform, O son of Kunti, do them as an offering to Me.

– Chapter 9 Verse 27

Lessons from Bhagavad Gita: Purpose Drives Focus

Speaking on the question of the best advise for children and youth from the Gita, Swamiji highlighted the importance of focus – the ability to keep the beam of our attention on the object of our choice for extended periods of time. However due to several distractions such as social media, video games, television, children today have a limited attention span.

“This generation has forgotten what it means to be bored because there are so many objects of stimulation all over the place. If we wish to be better at our work, we will need to continually exercise our ability to focus.”, said Swamiji.

The Bhagavad Gita however provides a powerful higher calling – a divine purpose – that helps us draw on vast reserves of inner inspiration to deliver our best in its fulfillment. According to Swami Mukundananda, the Bhagavad Gita can inspire students to realize that human life is a tremendous opportunity to reach the supreme goal.

Lessons from Bhagavad Gita: Reduce Desires, Increase Happiness

Jaya Row drew a beautiful parallel to the world of mathematics with a formula for happiness in context of Chapter 2, Verse 70.

“Happiness equals the number of desires fulfilled divided by the number of desires harbored. Despite fulfilling many desires, happiness has not increased – why? The denominator also increases innocuously without our knowing it, any increase in denominator nullifies numerator. It does not matter how low the numerator is, if you systematically reduce the denominator, happiness increases in leaps and bounds. Zero denominator equals infinite happiness. This is mathematically and philosophically true. Human being minus desire equals God.”

Powerful, isn’t it?

āpūryamāṇam achala-pratiṣhṭhaṁ

samudram āpaḥ praviśhanti yadvat

tadvat kāmā yaṁ praviśhanti sarve

sa śhāntim āpnoti na kāma-kāmī

Just as the ocean remains undisturbed by the incessant flow of waters from rivers merging into it, likewise the sage who is unmoved despite the flow of desirable objects all around him attains peace, and not the person who strives to satisfy desires. – Chapter 2, Verse 70

Lessons from Bhagavad Gita: Empower the Intellect with Divine Knowledge

Addressing the worldwide need for mind management, Swamiji stated that while trying to control the mind, people fail to understand the importance of the intellect. We must empower the intellect with divine knowledge to control, purify and elevate the mind. To facilitate this, Shri Krishna prescribes Buddhi Yog in the Bhagavad Gita.

Another factor is that without purifying the mind one truly cannot control it. The sovereign way to purify the mind is to attach it in loving devotion to all pure God.

Speaking on the question of addressing the many spiritual confusions arising in the mind, Jaya Row stressed the importance of the threefold part of solidifying knowledge to transform from within: Shravan(hearing), Manan (Contemplation) and finally Nididhyasan (Firm Decision).

Specifically, she stated the importance of having faith and devotion in the Guru, with respect to areas where we do not necessarily understand the answers while simultaneously serving the Guru sincerely.

In conclusion she mentioned that one must have the ardent desire to be free from the mental prison we have locked ourselves in. Once one person gains that freedom, and tastes it, they want others to share in the bliss as well – this forms the basis of the guru shishya parampara or tradition of Guru and disciple. We must not stop until we achieve our highest goal.

Congratulating the volunteers on organizing a wonderful event, Swamiji concluded by saying that we must see the Gita as a manual for a fulfilling life and deeply contemplate over it to develop and install productive beliefs and mindsets. Quoting Adi Jagadguru Shankaracharya he said that we must savor a little bit of the divine wisdom of the Bhagavad Gita every single day as it will save us from the greatest dangers.

Bhagavadgita Kincidadhita

Ganga Jalalavakanika Pita

Sakrdapi Yena Murarisamarca

Kriyate Tasye Yamena Na Carca

Bhaja Govindam Bhaja Govindam

 

Watch the blissful event proceedings here. Share with us in comments your favorite takeaways!

To participate in the International Gita Festival 2024, please visit www.gitafestval.jkyog.org/