Talks on the Gita -Vinoba 141

Chapter 13
Distinction between The Self And The Not-Self
67. Distinguishing Between The Body And The Self Helps Karmayoga

1. Vyasa has poured into the Gita the essence of his life. He has written many voluminous works. The Mahabharata alone contains more than a hundred thousand verses. In fact, the word ‘Vyasa’ has acquired the meaning of ‘extensiveness’ in Sanskrit. But in the Gita, his inclination is not towards elaboration. Here he has only briefly stated, like Euclid has in his geometry, the principles useful for life. There are no long discussions in the Gita; brevity is its distinctive characteristic. It is so mainly because everybody can test for himself the veracity of the Gita’s teaching in his life; and it is meant to be so tested. The Gita tells only those things which are useful for life. That being the object, Vyasa has contented himself with stating the principles concisely. It shows his firm faith in the power of truth and the possibility of its being directly experienced. That which is true does not need lengthy arguments to substantiate it.

2. Our main reason in studying the Gita is that whenever we need help and guidance, we may get it from the Gita. Such help is always forthcoming. The Gita is a treatise that tells us how life is to be lived. That is why it lays stress on swadharma. Performance of swadharma is the foundation of human life. The whole edifice of life has to be erected over this foundation. Stronger the foundation, more enduring the edifice will be. It is the performance of swadharma that the Gita calls ‘karma’. Around this karma, the Gita has built its architectonics. It has fortified it with many vikarmas. To make the performance of swadharma meaningful and fruitful, it should be given all the necessary help and support that it needs. In this connection we have examined many things so far. Most of them belonged to the realm of bhakti. In the Thirteenth Chapter, we have to take a look at something extremely important to the performance of swadharma. It calls for discriminating reason.


References and Context