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Chapter I

To understand the meaning of the Geetha, the reverential approach is necessary. You must take up its study in an attitude of submission and expectancy. For the Geetha is the "milk" of the Upanishads, "drawn" by the cowherd Krishna with the help of Arjuna, "the calf", for all the "dull-witted" to drink and draw sustenance from. There are some who argue that the Geetha as a sacred poem was a creation later than the Mahabharatha, of which it is a part; but whatever may be said of the composition of the Geetha, there is no doubt that the principles and teachings of the Geetha are ancient, nay, dateless. In the first three slokas of the fourth chapter, reference is made to the Lord instructing the Geetha to Surya first and later to Manu; and to the fact that from Manu it reached Ikshvaku and thence to others in succession! So, the Geetha is beyond the category of time and it cannot be assigned to a particular point of time, past or present.

The Geetha is a text for spiritual practitioners, for it emphasises Sadhana, and spiritual attitudes, more than anything else. Every chapter lays down means and methods of reaching the goal of peace and harmony. Now Sadhana is the product of keen and steady yearning for progress. The aspirant must aspire, not despair. He must persevere, not clamour for quick success. The Geetha is as a boat, which takes man across from the self-imposed state of bondage to the freedom which is his nature. He is taken from darkness to light, from lustrelessness to splendour. The Geetha ordains for man disciplines and duties which are free from the taints of Vasanas (tendencies and impulses) that tie him to the relentless wheel of birth and death.

Really speaking, man has come into this Karmakshetra (field of activity) only to engage himself in activity, not in order to earn the fruit of such activity. That is the teaching of the Geetha, its fundamental lesson. The Geetha is the quintessence of the meaning of all the Vedas. Yajnas and Yagas, the outward directed activities are mentioned in the preliminary portions of the Vedas; activities of the mind, like the Upasanas, which are directed inward are mentioned later; and Jnana Yoga too is expounded to minds thus clarified and purified.