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Society and the Individual

(From the Bhagavad Gita, Chapter I, Verses 40-44)


Swadhyaya is often translated as ‘Study of the scriptures’ but, one can look at this term from a broader sense to mean, ‘Study of the self through scriptures’.

Today, we take up five verses from the first chapter of the Bhagavad Gita: verses 40-44 to understand how life was viewed and lived in the time the Bhagavad Gita was first given, some very pertinent observations of Arjuna and its meaning to our lives today.

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Though outer conditions change with time – outer problems and our inner conflicts remain the same. The ancients had a deep understanding of our problems, the real cause, practical solutions and devised a way of living which answered all these. This way of life was a very well thought out system which was a direct answer to all the problems one could face while working out our karma and moving towards moksha.

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The battle which forms the backdrop of the Bhagavad Gita is our battle today and the conflict that arose in Arjuna is the conflict that arises in us even today when we stand face to face with certain conditions.

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Let us journey through these together with a mind free of all notions, ideas and ways of seeing things to understand how life was lived back then, individual conflict amidst conditions in society and a higher vision offered by Lord Krishna. These three are the focus of this talk.

Swami Suryadevananda

18 May 2014