Gandhi and Gita

Gandhiji’s first introduction to Gita was in England through two English brothers. Gandhi at that time was studying law. The brothers read Gita regularly and asked Gandhi to join in. Perhaps they thought that they may get to know the text in Sanskrit better. But Gandhi felt sad, because of his lack of Sanskrit knowledge. He read English version by Sir Edwin Arnold as recommended by his English friends, and was captivated for life by Gita’s message.

Gandhi had included 19 concluding slokas from Chapter 2 on स्थितप्रज्ञ (one with steady insight) in Ashram Bhajanawali to be read in his regular prayers in morning.As it appeared Gandhi practised the teachings of Gita in his own way too in day to day life.The two books that I am going through these days are ‘Gandhi- the years that changed the world’ by Ramachandra Guha and ‘Bhagavad Gita for daily living in 3 Volumes by Eknath Easwaran. Both talk about the influences of the Bhagawad Gita on Mahatma Gandhi.Eknath Easwaran has extensively referred to Mahatma Gandhi views and how it matched with the philosophical teachings preached by Bhagawad Gita. Gandhi has written a commentary on Gita too. He used to teach Gita to some like Manu Gandhi.

For last few months I am trying to understand the teachings of Bhagawad Gita through different commentaries. I am of view that all senior citizens can spend some time every day on serious study of Bhagawad Gita with help of one of the best commentary of it. The edition of Gita for children must be a compulsory reading book for every students in all countries. And Gita being a very secular book must be read by every citizen of Indian. One can shun the doubt with the Sloka 21 from Chapter 7:

यो यो यां यां तनुं भक्तः श्रद्धयार्चितुमिच्छति ।

तस्य तस्याचलां श्रद्धां तामेव विदधाम्यहम्‌ ॥

Whatsoever form any desires to worship with faith-that(same) faith of his I make (firm and) unflinching.At least all the legislators of the country must undertake a mandatory study of Gita. It will certainly make their lives better and help them serving the nation better.Let Congress because of its nearness with Gandhiji and BJP because of its claim for Hinduism must take it up the study of Gita immediately and seriously.

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