The Bhagavad Gita Summarized

by on October 9, 2014 · 0 comments

in Thoughts on Philosophy, Yoga Notes

The Gita Concisely Summarized

The Plot

The Quick and Dirty

A guy is (understandably) upset about being on the brink of battle with his family.

A trusted friend turns out to be a god, and reminds him of all the reasons there’s no reason not to slay them all- dharma, reincarnation, etc. etc.

Reiterates that it’s all ok, because as long as you’re devoted it’s all good, and proceeds to provide the list of ways to be a good devotee.

A little more Detail

It’s an allegory that is difficult for many to grasp because most of us wouldn’t kill our cousins. But Arjuna was a prince, and the enemies, although his family, wanted to conquer and corrupt the kingdom.


The Superficial Moral of the Story

The Universal Perspective of the Context of the Gita

Don’t fight who you are or your role in life, accept it.

Viewing Krishna as A higher power.

“One is not the owner of the fruits of one’s actions. Through devotion and yoga, we can carry out our earthly Duty without the attachments to the results, and thus we can be free from karma and suffering. And so Arjuna, devote your acts to me and fulfill your duty – fight!” – Lord Krishna

A little Deeper

We listen for what our dharma (path) is, and try and become harmonious with that in our actions. We perform each act as purely as we can, without thinking of the fruits of our action. Lastly, we act without thinking of ourselves as being the actor – we are the Self – the action is happening through you, but you aren’t doing it. This is the deeper non-literal message of the Bhagavad Gita.

The even-deeper meanings


Allegory: The Charioteer and the Horses

Though in a different book, the chariot is often offered up as symbolism or. I see it as a metaphor of the Gita, like a variation of what’s mentioned in the Katha upanishad:

Verses 1.3.3–11 of Katha Upanishad deal with the allegoric expression of an individual as a chariot.[5] The body is equated to a chariot where the horses are the senses, the reins are the mind, and the charioteer is the intellect.[2] The master of the chariot is the Self, on forgetting which the charioteer intellect becomes absorbed in the field of action.

Allegory: The Characters as Allegories

Arjuna ( the will ) is indecisive about choosing between the Id ( Kauravas ) and the superego ( Krishna ).

The superego guides the will to realize his highest self.

Once Arjuna( the will) is seated as its highest self it decides to fight on the side of the superego on the battlefield (One’s Mortal Life).

This is very much in line with Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra 1.3. Then the seer dwells in his own nature.

Devotion Inward

Krishna is love. And love isn’t a belief because true unconditional love isn’t about proof; it’s simply about devotion. So when you chant the Maha Mantra, or practice yoga, or whatever it is that is your meditation, the opus of the practice is to offer your entire living being to its movement without any interest in the outcome. To practice yoga, and renounce the fruit of your labor. To find the slow romantic movement of your breath, and be satiated by your presence of it, rather than where it leads.

Devotion Outward

Though love is not a belief, or an act in itself, there is a degree of effort that is required. Part of this effort is aided by devotion. By being devoted to a cause, a relationship or a work, doubt is removed because through devotion, there’s not need to question the love for any of these things. And because there is unwavering love and devotion, outward acts, such as loving kindness, support and empathy are displayed unabashedly without question or analysis which is very similar to not being attached to the fruits of one’s labor. To be truly devoted is to love without expecting anything in return. And if something is given in return, it is used in fashion to serve others or to aid in devotion or love that already exists.

How the meanings can be applied

Make every action a way out of suffering. There is not a single person on the planet that does every act out of the desire to do so. Everyone has tasks or duties that simply must be performed out of the sake of necessity from the mundane to the super important. Our desire for the circumstances to be different can lead to mild or extreme suffering. While in the moment of doing things with reluctance, we can take a moment to reflect on how what we are engaged in can be an act of kindness and love. Kindness and love not just for one’s self and/or family, but for the betterment of the whole. In essence, from the standpoint of devotion, one can simply take action because of love to avoid suffering in the long run.

How I have applied these meanings

Yogi Role

The yoga must be done. In an act of divine wisdom, I was stepped onto my mat by a higher force. In seeing the effects of the system and trusting in where it leads, I accept the role unconditionally and support the need for time on the mat. Because of what has been given to me through yoga, I have been able to give more to others, give more to myself and be the change. Yoga has taught me there is no substitute for action. I have also learned there is no better way to teach than to be what you teach.

Teacher Role

In the role of the yoga teacher, there are days when my ego enjoys immensely, the energy of a packed class and the barrage of positive comments afterward. I always remind myself that The system of yoga is doing it’s work through me and though their comments are sincere and it is not always properly placed. I should not condone this praise or cultivate it, but get students to see that the benefits of their practice come from their devotion, diligence and love of the path. Not me.

Father Role

A father’s role is one of kindness love and protection. It’s imperative that I do what’s within my power to protect my children from danger, ensure that they understand my love for them so they too will understand how to love. Kindness ensures that they will not shy away from my embrace and feel that they have a proponent in every battle. Though I love to see my children happy and eternally smiling, I must let go of this attachment when they need discipline or redirection and allow them to be mad at me.

Husband Role

My role as a husband is to support the queen of my household through acts that display my devotion to my wife. Aside from ensuring that my wife feels loved and appreciated for fulfilling all of her roles, there is also an unconditional love for her spirit and the union of each other’s and how we have become one entity over time. There is devotion to our union which goes unquestioned, and holds no doubt.

Breadwinner Role

The duties that must be done. Support the body and mind for the mental and physical capacity needed to perfrom expected duties. Become unattached to the fruits of my labor as they serve my family and provide for them. When it comes to importance though, I don’t take my job that ‘seriously’ because it’s simply an act that flows through me and if it must be slain on the battlefield (quit or give ultimatum) to prevent corruption of the kingdom (unhappy family life), I will not hesitate to do so.

Potentiality of Self

Let curiosities flow through me. Follow ambitions and allow healthy obsessions to play out. Discover, learn, allow self-improvement to happen even if slowly.


Though only a couple of chapters in the voluminous Maha Barata, the Bhagavad Gita is one of those timeless pieces of literature that seem to transcend religion and spiritual boundaries though it’s rooted heavily in Indian context. It can be studied and understood by any religious or cultural background as the context happens within the framework of devotion. The portrayal of Arjuna’s inward battles has the ability to speak to everyone who has encountered similar conditions of the human spirit.

I view it as a way of approaching one’s duties in life when the circumstances are less than desireable. The Bhgavad Gita outlines a system for addressing such issues and offers an example of how it can be used in the unlikeliest of situations. Ultimately it shows how bringing the different forms of yoga into harmony (dharma/karma, jnana, and bhakti) can be utilized to overcome even the most seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

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