Read Gita and you will Survive

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my humble obeisances! All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev!

After departue of Lord Krishna to Goloka, Arjuna returns to Hastinapura with great grief. The wives of Krishna whom Arjuna wanted to give protection were also stolen away by cowherd boys on the way. The pain of being defeated, combined with the pain of separation from his dearmost Lord, made Arjuna very morose and perplexed. While explaining to Maharaj Yudhishthira the reasons for his despondency, Arjuna begins to count the various blessings Lord had bestowed upon him as well as the Pandavas. Such heartfelt expressions of gratitude to the Lord leads him to recollect the transcendental instructions (Bhagavad Gita) which Lord Krishna gave him on the battle-field of Kurukshetra. In Srimad Bhagavatam verse 1.15.27 Arjuna says, 

deśa-kālārtha-yuktāni hṛt-tāpopaśamāni ca
haranti smarataś cittaṁ govindābhihitāni me

Now I am attracted to those instructions imparted to me by the Personality of Godhead [Govinda] because they are impregnated with instructions for relieving the burning heart in all circumstances of time and space.

Each and every word in the above verse is worth meditating. Srila Prabhupada in the word to word equivalents mentions  hṛt — the heart; tāpa — burning; upaśamāni — extinguishing; The word 'extinguish' is used to put off fire. And the anxieties we face in this material world are nicely compared to burning fire. Our beloved spiritual master HH Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj very nicely used to quote an Hindi doha

cintā se caturāyī ghaṭe ghate rūp aur jñān
cintā badī abhāginī chintā citā samān

Worry destroys our wisdom. It destroys our charm, health and speech. It is full of ill-fortune. It burns us just like the funeral pyre. So never worry about anything.

Anxieties really kill us alive. In this regard Maharaj used to quote a nice Subhashita

cintāyāstu citāyāstu bindumātraṁ viśeṣataḥ
sajīvaṁ dahate cintā nirjīvaṁ dahate citā

There is merely the difference of a bindu (dot) between citā (pyre) and cintā (worry). citā burns the dead and cintā burns those who are alive.

In this world every moment, we are faced with so many varieties of anxieties - our own well-being or well-being of the near and dear ones. But simply by worrying - we don't achieve anything. On the contrary as very nicely mentioned by Maharaj, we only lose our health and most valuable time. Srila Prabhupada in his wonderful lecture on the above verse very nicely quotes the example of how even a small bird who is eating his food is also suffering from anxiety. His Divine Grace says, "If there is fire and there is heat, sometimes it is intolerable. So hṛt-tāpa means the burning fire blazing within the heart. So that is always. Anyone who is in this material world, he has got this disease, burning fire within the heart, anyone. That means severe anxiety, everyone. Even a small bird, he is also full of anxiety. You give him some grains, it will come, it will eat; at the same time, it will look this way, that way, this way, full of anxiety. Although there is food, he is eating, still, there is anxiety, "Somebody may come, kill me." So everyone is full of anxiety. That is the material nature."

So how to come out of this anxiety? Arjuna by his personal example is teaching us through the above verse. His Divine Grace wonderfully mentions in the purport, "The problem which arose in the heart of Arjuna on the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra was solved by the teachings of the Bhagavad-gītā. Again, after the departure of the Lord from the vision of earthly people, when Arjuna was face to face with being vanquished in his acquired power and prominence, he wanted again to remember the great teachings of the Bhagavad-gītā just to teach all concerned that the Bhagavad-gītā can be consulted in all critical times, not only for solace from all kinds of mental agonies, but also for the way out of great entanglements which may embarrass one in some critical hour."

His Divine Grace very nicely says that since Lord and His instructions (Bhagavad Gita) are non-different, "Whenever you are perplexed, you read Bhagavad-gītā; you will immediately get relief. That's a factBhagavad-gītā, even if you read without any actual knowledge of the Bhagavad-gītā, still, you will feel relief. Still you will feel relief. Just like if you go to the fire, you will feel some warmth. That's a fact. Even you do not know how to enjoy fire, still, because you are near the fire, you will get some warmth."

Once Maharaj was travelling in Malaysia and on the road there was a sign in Malay language - "pandu chalna jiva salāma". Maharaj inquired what it meant and devotees told - "Drive slowly and you will survive". Maharaj in his transcendental manner, smiled and said that in the journey of our life the sign should be - "Read Gita and you will survive." Maharaj asked the devotees to translate that in Malay language "bāchā Gita - jiv salām" and said that this needs to be printed everywhere.

May we always remember the instructions of Maharaj and Srila Prabhupada and practise them in our lives.

Hare Krishna.
Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada an Srila Gurudeva,
Sudarshana devi dasi.