Experience the Yoga of Bhagavad Gita Parayana, with Sri Appaji
Updated: Dec 15, 2020
by Mala Balroop
Prelude to the Battle
Param Pujya Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji has been doing Mahabharatam Pravachana for almost the whole year, online, keeping us at home, entertained, relaxed, yet spiritually guided and uplifted by His detailed, enlightening, many times humorous explanations of every episode! From the background, to the lives of all important characters, the detailed descriptions from palace to village, from forest to heaven, with stories woven into stories, the conflict between the Pandavas and Kauravas slowly grew and climaxed on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Even from then, He told us to listen especially to His voice, and told that this battle was truly one between Dharma and Adharma (good and evil)!
In the words of Sri Appaji, " Each one normally thinks that he know all about himself. It is only when a crisis occurs that he loses balance and becomes distraught. When, and to whom such a situation will present itself, is unpredictable....God incarnated on the battlefield to help man gain victory in the combat between good and evil. He used Arjuna as a pretext. The words He uttered are the Bhagavad Gita." Arjuna turned to Sri Krishna to help and guide him when he was in despair, seeing his relatives on the enemy side, and did not want to fight them, although he knew they embodied evil.
Bhagavad Gita, the 'Song of the Supreme God' in the form of Sri Krishna, occurs in the beginning of Bhishma Parva of the Mahabharata. During the Bhagavad Gita Pravachana, Sri Appaji, at the end of His detailed interpretations, would chant the whole Chapter of every one of the 18 Chapters of Bhagavad Gita and urge us to participate in reading or chanting from memory those who could, or listen to it at least. From the very beginning of His Pravachana of Bhagavad Gita, somehow I felt even more compelled to listen/view the Live sessions, and in speaking to a couple of other devotees, realised that I was not alone in this! We experienced a bliss, though temporary, yet which we realise, is still inside of us, ever-ready to come to the fore, a bliss that cannot not be explained---All our Sadguru's Grace!
Though I had studied the Bhagavad Gita when I was younger, having been told about its greatness as THE ONE Scripture I should follow, I could not fully understand the meaning of some Chapters and at the time was attracted more by Sri Appaji's bhajans!
I started learning the English transliteration of Bhagavad Gita in October 2016 to take part in Sadguru's 75th Birthday Celebrations, and struggle by struggle, (or is it battle by battle) verse by verse, syllable by syllable, managed to do well enough by His Grace to read in the Parayana in 2017-thanks to the patience, and kind help from our teacher, Srichitta Balroop, and fellow students! Though we had to work hard, and often were tempted to give up, we also had fun and great satisfaction after awhile! In the beginning I doubted I would make it, wondering so many times in despair, "How could I have missed that long a, or short u, or dh in that word? Why, oh why did I even get involved in this?" But without my knowing, Mother Sanskrit and Gita Mata, got under my skin, and showered blessings from within, so I wanted, more and more, to be in Her loving vibration, as I felt drawn more and more to Bhagavad Gita, and started studying the meaning more as well. I realise now that then, at first, I was in almost an Arjuna -like state, not wanting to 'fight', but slowly wanted to give it my best shot, regardless of the result! Nothing but Guru Datta, my Sri Krishna's compassion and Grace --- always there once we turn to him like Arjuna to Sri Krishna.
I guess 'nothing happens before its time.' Appaji is clearing all my doubts and anxieties, this year of Covid 19! Gradually, by regular practice, from 2017 onwards, Bhagavad Gita 'entered my blood', and immersing myself in it--chanting/ reading or listening to His Pravachana, studying it every day-- adds profound, blissful meaning to my life, again His Grace only! He has said when He started Gita Parayana Maha Yagna that "Lord Hanuman decorates Arjuna's flag. Gita is very close to his heart. That is why this Gita Parayana was initiated." He also reminds us,
" Some mistakenly think that the Bhagavad Gita is only for the spiritually inclined, or for those who are advanced in age. This misconception must go. Arjuna was a young married man, steeped in worldly affairs. Listening to the Bhagavad Gita, he became enlightened, did he not?"
Recently, at the conclusion of Bhishma Parva of Mahabharata, with the fall of Bhishma, in praising the latter, our Sadguru pointed out that "Bhishma's life was full of ups and downs. He was a great yogi, always balanced, and, despite all his efforts, peace did not happen. Truce turned to war...when Bhishma had to fight, he had to become the mighty commander and fight, but never gave up dharma/righteousness. He fought carefully and fiercely", earning pure admiration from both the Kauravas and Pandavas, as well as the Grace of Sri Krishna. He led a balanced, Dharmic life, an example for all, such as is encouraged in Bhagavad Gita.
Furthermore, Sri Appaji declared, "The Lord gave Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna for the welfare of the world. He knew Arjuna's mind, and spoke, that is why the Gita became a solution for all future generations, not just for Arjuna. It has the eternal solution for every problem and cannot be praised enough!" Arjuna's journey to enlightenment is our own, step by step, as our Sadguru has shown us via Bhagavad Gita.
Whoever said surrender of the ego is easy? Can anything be harder? Who is ready to give up 'i', besides sannyasis, or yogis, but the Lord makes it easier for us, by advising us to make as an offering our daily duties, everything we think, say and do, to Him--- making our every feeling, thought, word, desire, reaction, action, as though a puja, pure with remembrance of Him/chanting His name, not expecting any fruits, desireless, selfless, even by the Yoga of Practice --until we lose the thought/feeling/desire of doership! At the same time, we should become a mere instrument, serve and follow strictly a Sadguru like our Datta Guru Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji, become a witness, and attain the supreme state of Yoga, that is, Oneness with Him! As He says, "Patience is the greatest penance."
Listening/chanting/reading with concentration and faith important
When we have the chance to listen to our living Sri Krishna, in the form of Sadguru, and take part in chanting/listening to His Bhagavad Gita Parayana, who knows what Yoga will, by Sadguru's Grace, win over us, and transform our life! Bhishma was a rare soul, who though fighting on the wrong side of the Kauravas, still held on to Dharma. He had the boon to choose when he dies, and guided the Pandavas how to defeat him! With humility and perseverance in their Dharmic attitude, the Pandavas won his love and respect!
At the conclusion of Bhishma Parva, again Sri Appaji reminds us that the battle goes on every day within ourselves, and so listening to the battle, with warrior fiercely fighting warrior, is very important. Many others who expound on Mahabharata skip a lot of the battle, but He does not, since every warrior is connected to one of our 72,000 subtle Nadis or nerves, or other parts of the body! Gita Parayana is vital for our progress, as the Bhagavad Gita when given by the Lord, gave Arjuna the wisdom of detachment and spiritual strength needed to do his duty as a warrior, with faith, concentration and skill in the fight for righteousness!
Bhagavad Gita Parayana, 25th December, 7.30am Trinidad time, 5.00pm Indian time.
Likewise, the Bhagavad Gita Parayana by our Sadguru Dattatreya, gives us much needed wisdom and strength in these difficult times, to persevere with faith and love for Guru/God in our heart, strength in our body and mind, and wisdom in our intellect, to face and overcome any difficulty that may come our way! Be it with loss of money or job, depression, loss of or strife with near and dear ones, or conflict in general, disease, indecision, anxiety over what next, politics, worries about crime, worldly or spiritual troubles-- whatever...Bhagavad Gita has the answer! The power in Sri Appaji's voice chanting the verses in Sanskrit, is indescribable! Truly, Sanskrit is the language of the gods!
View/participate online LIVE on Avadhoota Datta Peetham
This is another online but LIVE transmission of our Sadguru's Divine Energy, and listening or reading/chanting with Him on Gita Jayanti Day, 25th December is a rare boon, one not to be missed at any cost! This blissful immersion in Bhagavad Gita with my beloved Sadguru, I hope is ongoing, although I'm not chanting with any particular benefit in mind. To me, the indefinable peace that chanting Bhagavad Gita with our Sadguru Datta brings is motive enough, as also, the fact that He wants us to listen/participate! That's reason enough! On behalf of THDM I am happy to share the following brief summary of some of the benefits of Bhagavad Gita, that He so lovingly bestowed to us, at the conclusion of Bhishma Parva, but there are many more that He told in BG Pravachana, so experience for yourself and be viewing!
https://www.facebook.com Avadhoota Datta Peetham/sgspage/videos
Chapter 1 -The ability to recollect one’s past lives
Chapter 2 -Blesses one with Atma jnana or knowledge of the Self
Chapter 3 - Removes preta tattva or the state of ghostliness which one experiences after death.
( Appaji : chanting the 2nd and 3rd chapters everyday for 12 days when someone passes away, helps the soul be at peace.)
Chapter 4 - Cleanses one’s surroundings and trees flourish
Chapter 5 - Birds flourish and are protected
Chapter 6 - One becomes Sri Hari Himself and merges in Him
Chapter 7 - Ancestors will attain moksha and so will those of lower birth.
Chapter 8 - Removes troubles from demons and brahma rakshasas
Chapter 9 - Removes sins accrued from taking charity
Chapter 10 - Receive blessings equivalent to worshipping everyone
Chapter 11 - Freedom from demons
Chapter 12 - Blesses with the power to bring those who are dead back to life; liberation
Chapter 13 - Lifts one out of a pathetic state
Chapter 14 - Removes sins accrued from lechery and matricide
Chapter 15 - Cattle will flourish
Chapter 16 - Blesses one with courage and moksha
Chapter 17 - One will be free of all diseases
Chapter 18 - Benefits equal to performing all yagnas (rituals)
‘bhagavad gita kinchidadheeta’ - Sri Adi Shankaracharya in Bhaja Govindam states that even Yama (lord of death) cannot harm those who chant or read a few verses of the Gita.
Sri Guru Datta! Om Namo Narayanaya! Vyasa Maharaj ki, Jai!
(Credits and thanks to: Avadhoota Datta Peetham, Archana Penukonda and Yoga Sangeeta)