Talks on the Gita -Vinoba 2

Chapter 1
1. At The Heart Of The Mahabharata

4. Vyasa wrote such a great epic, but did he have something of his own to tell? Has he told his special message somewhere? Which is the place in the epic where we find him in a state of samadhi[1]? One comes across in the Mahabharata a vast number of dense thickets of philosophies and preachings, but has Vyasa given anywhere the essence of all those and presented the central message of the whole epic? Yes, he has. Vyasa has presented it in the form of the Gita. The Gita is his principal message and the repository of his wisdom. It is because of the Gita that the Lord has extolled him as the sage among the sages, as His own manifestation among the sages[2] The Gita has been accorded the status of an Upanishad since ancient times. It is, in fact, the supreme Upanishad. Lord Krishna has as if distilled the essence of all the Upanishads and offered it in the form of the Gita to the whole world. Arjuna’s despondency provided only an occasion. Almost every idea and thought necessary for the blossoming of life can be found in the Gita. That is why the wise have rightly called it the encyclopedia of dharma.[3]The Gita, although small in size, is the principal text of Hinduism.

5. It is well-known that the Gita was told by Lord Krishna. Arjuna, the devotee who listened to this great teaching, became one with it, so much so that he too came to be called ‘Krishna’. Vyasa's empathy while narrating it earned him too the epithet ‘Krishna’. Total identity was thus established between Krishna the teacher, Krishna the listener and Krishna the narrator. One who wants to go deep into the Gita should also have concentration of this kind and degree.


References and Context

  1. Samadhi here means a state in which the mind is intensely concentrated and is in tune with the divine consciousness. This is the sense in which the term has been used in Chap. 2.15 as well. The word is used in a different sense in Chap. 9.2
  2. 'Of the sages, I am Vyasa'—Gita, 10.37
  3. Dharma is normally translated as 'religion', but is a much wider concept. Dharma is that which holds and supports everything in the world. Its meaning includes right conduct and duties that become obligatory to a man because of his nature and station.