By Gretchen Karros

Yoga and the Philosophy of the Yogic path have had many different interpretations, explanations and definitions.  This monthly section of “The Healthy Planet” is intended to expand and inform both Yogis and non-Yogis about this very ancient science of well-being.


The topic for this month is:  The Bhagavad-Gita, a very ancient story


As many people may know, India’s history goes back many thousands of years.  Their earliest philosophy came even before they had a written language, so the students who were in the class would chant the “lesson” in order to remember it.  These writings became known as the Vedas, the very earliest example of their sacred texts.  Eventually, they were written down and fragments of these still remain in libraries in India.


A few thousand years later, a very long epic poem was written.  (It is called the Mahabharata.)  A part of this story, the “Bhagavad-Gita” became a shorter and clearer version of their spiritual guidance during this early period.  This part of the poem told of a conflict between two clans who were on the verge of war.  This sacred story brings guidance in the history of Hinduism and, therefore, is revered and read extensively to this day.


It is very unusual for a religion to have a “story” of their beginning that is still read.  The Gita (as it is affectionately called now) has been translated from Sanskrit into just about every modern language.  The story itself only involves two main characters, Krishna, one of their most famous gods, and Arjuna, head of one the clans. The conflict comes about when Arjuna has to decide whether it is “moral” to kill his kinsmen or not.  The Hindus consider the eternal truth in this epic poem very important because the focus is on devotion, especially to one’s god.  Krishna also teaches Arjujna about selfless action and wisdom through surrender to god (who in this case is Krishna, who is the reincarnation of Vishnu, one of the most important Gods in Hinduism.  He is a creator and preserver of the universe.)  This may sound rather “unusual” to our Western ears but the morals and ideas of living in society in times of conflict were very important to Hindus.  It created a foundation for people in ancient India then to find out what it meant to be a Hindu as well as to focus on bhakti, devotion to one’s God.  In addition, it has a beautiful description of God that anyone can appreciate.




“Joy is eternal, it will never die: Sorrow is illusory,

it will never live.”

Swami Sivananda