How to live well according to the most revered Hindu text
The Bhagavad Gita is the cornerstone not just of Hinduism, for a reason. When Krishna speaks to Arjuna on the battlefield, he isn’t just speaking to the greatest warrior who’s gone weak in the knees with the prospect of going to war, he’s also speaking to us.
The text of The Bhagavad Gita is relevant to us even today, millennia after it was first written. At a time when we are in the midst of what is arguably humankind’s greatest crisis, the Gita offers solace and guidance. Here are some lessons from Hinduism’s most revered text that have been telling you for generations, what modern therapists tell you for a fat fee:
1. Learn to be comfortable with who you are
The fact that The Bhagavad Gita asks you to discharge your duties and follow your path is known. But what is interesting is that it also advises you against following someone else’s path. “It is far better to discharge one’s prescribed duties, even though faultily, than another’s duties perfectly. Destruction in the course of performing one’s own duty is better than engaging in another’s duties, for to follow another’s path is dangerous.”
To do that, you must learn to be comfortable with who you are and not look outward. Wanting to be someone else or do someone else’s job doesn’t take you very far. It leaves your duties unattended to and, eventually, you will find dissatisfaction. Don’t try to live someone else’s life. Your life is your own, learn to appreciate it, warts and all. And learn to discharge your duties as faithfully as you possibly can.
2. Learn to live in moderation
Think about it and you will realise that this has been the advice you’ve received from everyone you’ve consulted – your doctor, your therapist, even your dietician. The Bhagavad Gita taught this lesson long time ago. The. Gita says: “For him who is moderate in food and diversion, whose actions are disciplined, who is moderate in sleep and the waking, Yoga destroys all sorrow.”
When you live your life in moderation, which is to say, you word, eat, sleep, and exercise in moderation, you will find a balance in life. There’s no wisdom in working for 12 hours every day and exercising four hours at a stretch over the weekend. Spend an hour on your workout, sleep well, don’t overwork and you will find a sense of achievement you haven’t found before. And really, doesn’t that sum up what every single self-help book you’ve read has told you?
3. Learn to meditate
We ourselves have been talking about the importance of meditating in several of our articles in this series. Meditation helps you find peace and harmony. According to The Bhagavad Gita, “The practice of meditation frees one from all affliction. This is the path of yoga. Follow it with determination and sustained enthusiasm. Renouncing wholeheartedly all selfish desires and expectations, use your will to control the senses. Little by little, through patience and repeated effort, the mind will become still in the Self.” Start with ten minutes and see how you feel at the end of it. There’s a good chance you will keep returning for more.
4. Renounce the fruits of your labour
In several ways, this is perhaps the one-line description of the holy text. But how does one really do it? Surely your efforts must bear fruit otherwise what is the point of it all? The idea is to focus on the journey and not the destination. That way even if you are underwhelmed with the destination, you would have enjoyed the journey to it.
A classic case is that of Instagram influencers. Most non-celebrity influencers with massive followings today are those who enjoy creating content for their handle. It’s because they enjoy the process, they do more of it. The more they do it, the better they get at their job. The massive following and the money that comes from it, are a bonus.