By Sandhya S. Nayar
Forsaking all dharmas (duties), remember Me alone; I will free thee from all sins (accruing from non-performance of those lesser duties). Do not grieve! – Chapter XVIII; Verse 66
In ‘God Talks With Arjuna’ Sri Sri Paramahansa Yoganandji’s prolific translation and commentary of Maharshi Vyasa’s Bhagavad Gita, the supreme yogi translates Lord Krishna’s promise to His ideal disciple Arjuna thus; “If you remain in ecstasy with Me, fulfilling all divine duties as directed by Me, forsaking all ego-instigated duties, you will be liberated.”
Author of the spiritual classic, ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’ and founder of Yogoda Satsanga Society of India/Self-Realization Fellowship, more than a century ago, Yoganandji explains that the entire knowledge of the cosmos is packed into the mere 700 verses of the Gita, and “wherever one is on the way back to God, the Gita will shed its light on that segment of the journey.”
Yoganandaji’s work on the Gita commentary began years earlier under the intuitive guidance of his guru Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri, and Paramgurus Sri Sri Lahiri Mahasaya and Mahavatar Babaji; reviver of the sacred technique – Kriya Yoga, mentioned twice by Sri Krishna in the Gita. As Yoganandaji elucidates; “Through the help of a God realized guru, one learns how to use the nutcracker of intuitive perception to crack open the hard shell of language and ambiguity to get at the kernels of truth in scriptural sayings.”
The final review and detailing of the Gita’s deeper philosophical concepts were undertaken in seclusion in a small ashram in the Mojave Desert in California in the months preceding the Master’s Mahasamadhi in 1952. A monk recalls, “The vibration in that room (where Yoganandaji was working) was unbelievable; it was like walking into God.”
Yoganandaji’s unique endeavour was not just to understand and explain the Gita according to his own concepts or ‘with the twistings of the intellect’, but to interpret to the world the actual dialogue between Sri Krishna and Arjuna as perceived by Maharshi Vyasa and revealed to him in ‘various states of spiritual ecstasy.’
Thus, ‘God Talks With Arjuna’ recounts the communion between the omnipresent Spirit (symbolized by Sri Krishna) and the soul of the ideal devotee (represented by Arjuna).
To a discerning student it becomes evident from the first chapter itself that the historical background of the battle of Kurukshetra is used to illustrate the spiritual and psychological battle going on within each individual’s pure discriminative intellect attuned with the soul (The clan of Pandu) and the blind sense bound mind under the delusion of the ego (The blind King Dhritharashtra and his wicked offspring).
With the help of Krishna (the guru, or awakened soul consciousness, or meditation born intuition), war must be fought; materially, mentally and spiritually ‘to reclaim the kingdom from ego and its army of evil mental tendencies’, and establish Spirit’s all fulfilling sovereignty. Just as Krishna gave unflinching solace to a despondent Arjuna, Yoganandji counsels the Arjuna devotee within every true seeker with his ineffable words; “Every person has to fight his own battle of Kurukshetra. It is a war not only worth winning, but in the divine order of the universe and of the eternal relationship between the soul and God, a war that sooner or later must be won’.
For further information on ‘God Talks With Arjuna’ and Kriya Yoga:yssofindia.org