If you don’t know what happens in Mahabharata, let me give you a brief backdrop. A great warrior fights against the injustice, only to be overcome by sorrow. He fights against everyone he has ever cared for, including his own cousins, teacher, classmates. The sorrow gets most out of him, and thus he tries to give up the war.
When that happens, his Guru gives him the lesson of the lifetime, just like how Yoda does in Star Wars. Bhagavad Gita consists of 18 chapters of this lessons of life, emotions, ambitions, and everything. Following is the essence of it:
- You should enjoy your work
- You have to manage your emotions
- You can manage your emotion by doing these things
- Don’t try to copy someone else’s life
- Keep your goals intact
- Everyone is worth your equal treatment
- Do good for the sake of nothing
- Act. Don’t just think.
- Keep your duties in check.
- There is always a bigger power than the biggest power.
You should enjoy your work
When we work, we look at the result rather than the process. Gita says that the work itself must be pleasurable than the results.
“Do not let the fruit be the purpose of your actions, and therefore, you won’t be attached to not doing your duty.”
What it means is that the journey is more important the destination, as the saying goes. All of the great artists, warriors, scientists achieve greatness because they enjoy the process of creation itself.
You have to manage your emotions
A large portion of Gita talks about managing emotions and attachment. In most situations, panic and attachment can be the enemies. Bhagvat Gita portrays hundreds of examples where it teaches about how one needs to keep calm and think through to use logic over emotions, even in the worst of times.
“The awakened sages call a person wise when all his undertakings are free from anxiety about results.”
You can manage your emotion by doing these things
Gita suggests practicing Ashtanga yoga (the superset of all the current yoga) and selecting the right food. Gita has categorized food into three types: Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas. Sattva are the fruits, green vegetables, milk; Rajas are spicy foods and steroids; and Tamas is fatty foods and leftovers. Gita says:
“From Sattva arises wisdom, and greed from Rajas; miscomprehension, delusion, and ignorance arise from Tamas.”
Don’t try to copy someone else’s life
Everyone’s life is relative. A warrior might think that a farmer’s life is pleasant and filled with happiness. The farmer might think that warrior’s life is energetic and active. Both lives have equal importance in the world. The grass will always look greener on the other side. As Gita says:
“It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else’s life with perfection.”
Keep your goals intact
When we try to imitate others, we forget what our own goals and dreams are. We try to become a better somebody, even if it is worthless like how we showboat in social media sites.
“We are kept from our goal, not by obstacles, but by a clear path to a lesser goal.”
Everyone is worth your equal treatment
In simple words, treat everyone the same. A whole chapter is dedicated to this in Gita. Even to foes, act nice, because that will leave you with lesser guilt and lesser emotion burdens to fight inside you.
“He alone sees truly who sees God in every creature he does not harm himself or others.”
Do good for the sake of nothing
Don’t expect anything in return just because you did something good. Gita talks about this in various forms and makes a lot of practical sense than just the morality of it.
“A gift is pure when it is given from the heart to the right person at the right time and at the right place, and when we expect nothing in return.”
Act. Don’t just think.
We keep over analyzing things that we forget to act upon it, it is especially common on the knowledgeable. We tend to be comfortable in just analyzing things and talking about it rather than just working on that knowledge.
“The immature think that knowledge and action are different, but the wise see them as the same.”
Keep your duties in check.
If you have promised something, then just do it. Don’t over analyze and use analysis-paralysis as an excuse to achieve great things in life.
“You might like another’s duty, and dislike yours. But still, do your own duty, and not another’s, even if you can do another’s duty very well. Or you’ll go on being caught up in the field of opposites. And there will be no end to your suffering.”
There is always a bigger power than the biggest power.
You might feel dejected because we think that we can do nothing about it. We end up throwing the towel. But according to Gita, the truth will always win, in one way or the other. So, you must keep doing your duty, even though your enemy looks formidable.
“In order to deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to re-establish the principles of truth, I advent Myself time to time.”