The Analytical Approach
These days, there is a growing interest in the ancient text Gita amongst people, especially the youth. There are several pravachans/ kathas (recitals), books and commentaries and their word by word meanings on the internet too. One could be made to believe that the growing use of satellite channels and the internet has led to this rekindled and budding interest in this sacred text. But in fact, if one reflects into the past, even without the best of mass communication technologies, Gita has intrigued, incaptivated and purified the conscience of several earlier generations, as it continues to do so today. In spite of this, have we fully understood its underlined message?
While the sacred text has completely showered and drenched us with knowledge on human existence, the spirit and the super-soul, the human mind has been confounded with its own intellect limitations to fully comprehend Gita’s true knowledge. Hence, we see a multitude of interpretations, commentaries and purports, each attempting to enhance the meaning and value to Gita from their individual perspective. This baffles the foreign mindset, particularly that of western and middle-east Asian person, who is attuned to a single version of a religious text allowing no author modifications. This in fact establishes the virtues of freedom of speech and diversity of thought permitted in Hindu ideology. It is important to emphasize here that although Gita is one of the most revered theology and followed practical handbook in life to most Hindus, for its spiritual and universal excellence, it is equally applicable to all living beings.
Coming back to the multitude of Gita’s, versions, another key reason of having a variety of interpretations is that most of these have been an outcome of bhakti (devotional) interaction of the sages or practitioners with the Ultimate. In this series of accounts and with the jest to discern the true essence of the Gita’s knowledge, this investigation is distinct in two ways:-
It adopts a more objective and dispassionate approach for readers to interpret Gita, without the usual religious and symbolic associations. Here the message is given more importance than the medium. This is a tactical divergence from other interpretations on Gita that usually hinge on glorifying the messenger i.e. Krishna that perhaps the actual message. (Disclaimer: readers and connoisseurs of devotional Gita may find this as a watered down and dry version, but please bear with me as this is the true message that Lord Krishna meant to deliver)
It takes a sankhya (analytical) technique to understand the inherent ideas and themes in Gita. In doing so, it relies on using visual tools, conceptual diagrams, tabulations, etc. that can serve as mnemonic aid to structure the meandering thoughts as one gets engrossed in the splendor of this scared text.