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A lesson from GITA for students
by Shreyas Bhardwaj April 18, 2015

I’ve always wondered and am fascinated by the similarities between the United States of America and the Ancient regimes of Rome and Greece. It is odd how history repeats itself. Empires are born out of the decay of previous ones or the inability of the people in an empire to stop themselves from repeatedly going to war. In fact many thought leaders in the US establishment continue to think there is a need for the US to impose a Rome like World Order on those whom it believes to be barbarians. As a continuation of the previous thought, I have many a times wondered why the Indian Civilization is still very much intact. Then I remember that we have and had the Bhagvad Gita and they did not. That pretty much sums up the reasons for moral decay. As Shankara summed it up:- ‘ Anusthartham kamodbhavat hiyamana viveka-vijnana hetukena abhibhuyamane dharma pravarddhamane cha adharme’ ‘ When there is rejection of dharma, citizens develop excessive sensory urges(kama) which beyond a point hampers intellectual as well as cultural growth Dharma is overwhelmed when adharma increases’

This verse is in Shankaracharya’s commentaries on the Gita. It stresses on the need for moral, intellectual as well as cultural growth. This single verse epitomises the struggle of North Indian Hindus who suffered under the atrocities of the Delhi Sultanate, many of the Moguls (with the notable exception of Akbar) to keep the culture of thinking relevant. Mostly the struggle has been lost and if we were to take victory form the jaws of defeat, the only prescription is to think. That is where the Gita comes in. It is one of the few books that fascinate you every time you read it. It is one of the few book which one interprets differently every time one reads it. If Shankara was alive today, he would have definitely asked today’s students to do one thing as much as possible- Read. My guru, Shri V. Siddharthacharry says this to me every time I go and meet him – ‘Read, Read whatever you can get your hands on. Try reading things which are uninteresting to you if possible’. I think this advice would hold true for all of us and not only me. If you are wondering ‘why is he writing this? Why is he being so preachy? or something on those lines, my answer is I am writing this out of my desperation. Which right-thinking Indian won’t be saddened by the state of India’s youth and their lack of interest in affairs present and past ? I am no devout Hindu, I try staying away from all things religious. I am a firm believer in Free- markets, Freedom of Speech and LGBT rights. I wander between Agnosticism and Atheism yet philosophically and culturally a Hindu in every sense of the world. The only reason I am a mentally healthy 17 year old boy is the Bhagvad Gita. I call upon every reader to read the Gita too.

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