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Bhagvad Geetaa

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Bhagvad Geetaa
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Book of God's songs. Short name of Bhagavad Geetaa - the dialog between Krishn and Arjun, found in Mahaabhaarat (MBH) just before the MBH war. The Divine conversation. This is one of the holiest scripture of Hinduism. Geetaa is one of the five scriptural texts chosen by the ancients for constant repetition and meditation. These five texts are the Upanishads, The Bhagavad Geetaa, The Vishnu Sahasranaam, Shree Rudram and Purush Sooktam.

It is essentially a dialog between God Krishn and the man Arjun in which Krishn explains to Arjun his duty as a person and his relationship with God. This conversation took place in 1100 BC, but it was written down in 450 BC with some additions and alterations. It tells how to conquer your weakness and in so doing fill your life with joy. It tells the purpose of life on the Earth. Geetaa trains its disciples in humility towards God and towards fellow human beings It preaches action, doing your duty and accept the results whatever they are with a smile and without any complaint.

The original sermon started from the 11th verse of the 2nd chapter of the Geetaa in the present form. Vyaas Jee who was a contemporary of Krishn wrote down this message of Krishn, though some verses were added later to create a connection between the Geetaa and story of MBH and the war between the Paandav and Kaurav. With these additional verses, Geetaa was written around 450 BC and eventually incorporated into MBH which was written by Vyaas as a very small book called "Jaya" but over hundreds of years grew to a very large book.

How Many Geetaa?
One will be surprised to know that this is not the only Geetaa, here are many more Getaa. Which are those?..

(1) Shree Mad-Bhagvad Geetaa - This is the most known and most popular Geetaa. It was told by Krishn, Bhagavaan Himself, to Arjun just before the Mahaabhaarat war was to start. It is in the form of dialog between Krishn and Arjun. The other two Geetaa are least known.

(2) Agastya Geetaa - It appears in Varaah Praan.

(3) Anu-Geetaa - This Geetaa is also told be Krishn to Arjun, in Mahaabhaarat, 7-postwar-7, but after the war was over. Arjun says, "Hey Krishn, I have forgotten what you said to me at that time so I wish to hear it again." Krishn smiles and says - "Paarth, That environment was different, so I am not sure that I can repeat the same Geetaa again, but i will tell you what I said a that time." This Geetaa is given in Ashwamedh Parv, Chap 16-51.

(4) Ashtaavakra Geetaa - This Geetaa is about Adhyaatm Gyaan - A-Dwaitvaad, in the form of dialog between Raajaa Janak and Rishi Ashtaavakra.

(5) Avadhoot Geetaa - This Geetaa is told by Bhagavaan Dattaatareya.

(6) Devee Geetaa -

(7) Eeshwareeya Geetaa - Koorm Puraan

(8) Ribhu Geetaa - The Ribhu Geetaa, literally “Ribhu’s Song”, is Part Six of the Shiv Rahasya, of Skand Puraan. The whole of the Ribhu Geetaa is said to represent the teaching given to the Sage Ribhu by God himself in the form of Lord Shiv, The Sage in turn gave the teaching to his reluctant disciple Nidaagh.

(9) Rudra Geetaa - Varaah Puraan

(10) Shiv Geetaa - Padm Puraan, Paataal Khand

(11) Siddh Geetaa - This Geetaa is told by Yog Vashishth.

(12) The Uddhav Geetaa - This Geetaa is the last message of Krishn to His friend Uddhav just before going to His Param Dhaam.

(13) Vidyaa Geeaa - This Geetaa appears in Tripur Rahasya. Tripur Rahasya is considered as a chief book of A-Dwait, the reading of which alone is sufficient for salvation.

(14) Vyaas Geetaa - In Koorm Puraan

(15) Yam Geetaa - This Geetaa appears in Vishnu Puraan, 3/3, and is also in the dialog form. It is also in dialog form between Raajaa Sagar and Maharshi Aurv (he was from Bhrigu's family and he brought the King up) about Vishnu's worship, duties of four Varn people, method of performing Sanskaar, and Shraaddh etc. A dialog between Yam Raaj and his servants is also given as who is that person who cannot be taken away even by Yam Raaj. Yam Raaj says that "I cannot take those people who worship Vishnu, who take name of Vishnu and who call Vishnu at the time of their death, because Vishnu is respectable for me as He is my creator, so I cannot disregard Him."

(16) Yam Geetaa - Agni Dev has named Yam-Nachiketaa dialog also Yam Geetaa. It is normally known as Kathopanishad, but in Agni Puraan, 34, it is named as Yam Geetaa.

Geetaa and Upanishad
Some people say that Geetaa is a summary of all the genuine Upanishad. This statement is not true. Geetaa contains much of the material which is not available in all the genuine Upanishad combined and vice versa.

Historically the sermon of Geetaa was delivered by Krishn to Arjun, and it was carried to posterity partly in writing and partly by oral tradition until around 5th century BC, most of it was reduced by writing. The Upanishad were composed during the later post-Vaidik period which is approximately 1100-700 BC. Surely this sermon was available to the authors of Upanishad in some form. In the same way Upanishad were also available to people who expanded Geetaa in the 5th century BC. That is why Geetaa's some verses are very similar to those of Kath, Shwetaashwar, and Eeshaavaasya Upanishad. Even though it has been included in MBH, still it is an Upanishad in itself from the viewpoint of its contents, because it contains the essence of spiritual wisdom. Geetaa preaches love and at the same time non-attachment because love is unselfish and attachment is selfish.

This book has been translated into many languages by Hindu and non-Hindu. The commentaries in each of these translations differ widely which proves that God's infinite wisdom cannot be bound by commentators of finite wisdom, and they generally see only limited aspects of what the verses state.
[Aangiras, p 257-258]


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Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 06/24/13