How is the Bhagavad gita applicable for students?
Transcription: Suresh Gupta
Question: How is the Gita applicable for students?
Answer: Primarily, the biggest relevance of Gita is in terms of the mind. In student life, there are so many different pressures that come – studies, parent’s expectations, stress of assignments, peer pressure etc. – that our mind can go wild due to hormones rising in our body during teenage. If we can learn to manage our mind, we will be able to do better.
Arjuna was a great warrior but his mind went wild at the start of Mahabharata war. He could not function properly or carry out his duty. Comparatively, the specifics of Arjuna’s wild mind maybe different from ours, but on hearing the message of Gita he could calm the mind. Thus, all of us should study the Gita regularly and understand its core message – that we are not our body and we are not our mind also.
We are different from our mind and Gita gives us a lot of practical guidelines on how to manage our mind. If we can learn to manage our mind, we can create a better life for ourselves. As students, we spend so much of our time on waste thoughts. Our time is not only spent in activities like studying, experiments, assignments etc., but our time is also taken by our thoughts. For example, if you go in a lab and greet another person but that person snubs you, neglects you or worse, insults you, then this single thought can dominate your mind for the next one hour. You will be sitting in the class but not one word spoken by the teacher will go in your mind because you will be thinking of revenge (next time in front of everyone I will snub this person). Externally you may appear to be in the class, but your mind has taken you somewhere else. Stray thoughts, wild thoughts take so much of our time. If we could manage to regulate our thoughts, we would save a lot of time.
Similarly, worry takes up so much of our time. Worry is essentially the interest that we pay on loans we have not yet taken. The problem may or may not have happened, but we spend time thinking about all the possibilities about – what if it happens or that happens? If we practice bhakti and understand Gita, we will learn that the Gita teaches us: Do not focus on “what if” rather focus on “what is”. “What if” means – what if this happens, that happens etc. “What is” mean – what is the exact problem right now, what is the right thing to do, what should I focus on right now? Therefore, in the Gita, there are a lot of powerful resources by which we can manage our mind, face all the stresses of student life and very responsibly create a brighter future for ourselves.
Along with that, Gita also gives us overall purpose and direction for our life. We all have talents and careers to look after. There are three questions pertaining to our talents and careers – (i) what to do (ii) how to do (iii) why to do. Gita gives us higher inspiration for our life by answering the most important question why to do (third one in the list).
In Gita 18.46, Lord Krishna says,
yatah pravrttir bhutanam yena sarvam idam tatam
sva-karmana tam abhyarcya siddhim vindati manavah
(By worship of the Lord, who is the source of all beings and who is all-pervading, a man can attain perfection through performing his own work.)
Krishna says, “Through your work, worship the divine.” We can actually do our work in a way, that it takes us closer to Krishna and as we grow internally, we see that whatever abilities and talent that we have, it can be used in Krishna’s service. What we are is God’s gift to us and what we become is our gift to God. If we learn in this way then as a student, we can contribute more and more. Irrespective of the path we have chosen in our life, if we have spiritual purpose, then that will inspire us to do much more in whatever work we are doing. When we work in spiritual consciousness, we develop a mood of service and contribution. The light of God can shine through each one of us and if that light shines through us, it can make our life and our world better. Not just better, but also brighter.
Whichever field we choose, that is secondary, but what consciousness we are working in the field, that is primary. If we can make ourselves a little more disciplined, more mature, more patient, we can do so much more in our life. All that can happen if we simply become connected to Krishna. Devotion to Krishna will certainly give us the strength to do better in life. This improvement can be marginal or dramatic. Discovering how much better we can do is life’s ultimate adventure and Gita invites each of us to embrace that ultimate adventure.
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