1-5 Interesting Facts About Bhagavad Gita
1. Krishna tried to narrate the Bhagavad Gita to Duryodhana. Obviously, if Duryodhana would have been educated, then the entire war would have been averted. But, Duryodhana told Krishna that he already knows what is right and what is wrong. His argument to Krishna was that there is some internal force within him which does not allow his mind to choose what is right. That his Prakriti is not allowing him to act as per his dharma.
2. The narration of the Bhagavad Gita by Krishna was heard firsthand not only by Arjuna but also Hanuman, Sanjaya and Barbarik. Hanuman was perched on top of Arjuna’s chariot throughout the battle of Kurukshetra and Sanjaya was blessed by Veda Vyasa with divine vision in order to narrate the events of the battle to Dhritharashtra. Barbarik, son of Ghatotkach was watching it all from a hill top.
3. It is to be observed that the number 18 is constantly recurring in the Mahabharata. The word 18 in Sanskrit means Jaya and also implies Sacrifice. Another name of Mahabharata is Jaya Itivrata (Itihaas). There are 18 Parvas, 18 chapters in Geeta, Akshauhinis are 18. There are 18 people required for the sacrifice, Sabha construction to Rajasuya is 18 years, Jarasandh attacks 18 times. It is said that the size of Pandavas army in the Kurukshetra war was 7 Akshauhini , and those of Kauravas 11 akshauhinis., totaling 18. The word 18 dominates the Epic.
4. An Akshauhini, was an ancient battle formation that consisted of 21,870 chariots ; 21,870 elephants; 65,610 cavalry and 109,350 infantry. The ratio is 1 chariot : 1 elephant : 3 cavalry : 5 infantry soldiers. In each of these large number groups (65,610, etc.), the digits add up to 18.
5. Albert Einstein, started assimilating the wisdom contained in Bhagavad-Gita in the later stages of his life! He deeply regretted the fact that he should have indulged in Bhagavad-Gita in the early formation years of his life! He said “When I read the Bhagavad-Gita and reflect about how God created this universe everything else seems so superfluous.” “We owe a lot to the Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made.” – Source
6-10 Interesting Facts About Bhagavad Gita
6. This is the research paper done by Professor Robert W. Newcomb of the University of Maryland, USA on scientific explanation of Field Theory mentioned in Chapter 13 of Bhagavad Gita : “The Lord said: ‘Son of Kunti, this body is called “the field” and the one who knows it is “the knower of the field.” The field is interpreted in Gita as spiritual body or soul. He interpreted the body and soul via a mathematical n-dimensional vector field. It is a fascinating read. You can read it here.
7. The conversation between Krishna and Arjun is not a historical conversation, although it is presented in this world as a historical event. Because this world is a relative world, which works under the rules of space and time. Lord Krishna, Arjuna and all warriors exist eternally in their spiritual bodies. And the Mahabharata is a spiritual reality without beginning or ending. The yogis and devotees who have successfully regained their spiritual bodies through bhakti yoga practice can actually enter the spiritual universe where Mahabharata is going on. They can see all the events directly as they unfolded with their own eyes. These facts can be deduced based on the statements of GEETA itself. Bhagavad Geeta, Chapter 2, Text 12
na tv evāhaṁ jātu nāsaṁ
na tvaṁ neme janādhipāḥ
na caiva na bhaviṣyāmaḥ
sarve vayam ataḥ param.
This means Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be.
8. The body is temporary – soul is permanent: Lord Krishna in Bhagavad Gita compares the human body to a piece of cloth. A person should identify not with the body but the real Self within. One should not grieve for growing old or having a disease that cannot be cured. Just as worn out clothes are replaced by the new ones, the soul of a person acquires a new body. Identification with the Self instead of the body helps a seeker to be detached from the limitations of the human body.
9. Anger causes delusion – be calm: It is due to anger that a person becomes deluded. As soon as the delusion takes over, his mind loses the power of discrimination. Subsequently, the reasoning capabilities of a person are lost. A person, who cannot reason justly, is destined to be doomed. Thus, anger is the fundamental cause of all sorts of failures in a person’s life. It is one of the three main gates of hell, other two being greed and lust. One must try to sidetrack anger while keeping the mind at peace.
10. Be temperate in everything – avoid extremities in life: In Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna says that a person is bound to fail in meditation if he does not strike a balance in his day to day activities. Eating too much or too less, for example, is not going to bring you any closer to God. Meditation can help a person overcome all sorrows but he must eat and sleep well, work daily and find time to enjoy recreational activities, too.
11-15 Interesting Facts About Bhagavad Gita
11. Wisdom becomes inaccessible due to selfish attitude – open up: Just as a mirror covered by dust does not reflect images of objects, wisdom, too, gets obscured by selfish attitude. A selfish person cannot perceive the truth as it is when tackling relationship issues in day to day life due to his nature. Whether a person wishes to gain material wealth, succeed in a profession or acquire spiritual wisdom, giving up personal agendas is absolutely necessary to wade through doubts and disappointments.
12. The Supreme Being is always with you – always: Mere acceptance of this sublime truth can transform the life of a person. It is the Supreme Being which acts through every living being. Releasing oneself from worries and all other negative emotions is easy by surrendering oneself to the almighty. Since a human being is only an instrument in the hands of God, regretting the past or fearing the future is pointless. The natural harmony of mind and soul is restored by recognizing the Omnipresent.
13. Do not abstain from ‘action’ – it doesn’t help: Running away from duties is not the way forward. Spiritual wisdom or eternal peace cannot be acquired by forsaking friends or family members. In fact, it is not even possible to refrain from activity while living in the materialistic world. It is therefore advisable to fulfill all duties with utmost dedication. Renouncing various physical actions without subduing the constantly wandering mind is useless.
14. Equanimity in Actions – be free from the expectation of the outcome: Most people end up doing a lot less than they’re capable of in their lives. It happens mostly due to the reason that they are either sedated by pleasure or pain. Every act of theirs stems from a wish to get rewards. If Steve Jobs, for example, did not just enjoy ‘working on unique designs and intuitive user experience’, he would have been far less successful. When a person is unaffected by potential success or failure, he is more likely to pour in all his energies in even small day to day actions.
15. Overcome desires – experience the stillness of mind: All thoughts, feelings and desires take birth in the mind. Looking deep within one’s own self is not possible without first stabilizing the mind. The mind can be really quite only when a person is free from the countless desires. Just as we can look at the bottom of the ocean only when there are no ripples on the surface, the secrets of mind, heart and soul can only be known when there are no desires on the surface. Stillness of mind can open doors to wisdom, peace and tranquility for anyone.
16-20 Interesting Facts About Bhagavad Gita
16. Do not doubt: Doubts in the self or an ‘absolute truth’ is the main reason why billions lead unhappy lives on the planet. According to Bhagavad Gita, a doubtful man cannot be at peace in this world or the next. It is important not to confuse this lesson with inquisitiveness which is an absolute necessity for a person to discover his own self. However, the habit of rejecting a philosophy, belief or truth told by a learned man is not productive at all.
17. Fear not: What is the greatest fear of humans? Death, we all know it. Lord Krishna tells his friend and devotee Arjuna not to fear death at all. Death is merely a transitional phase. Death can only come to something which is not permanent; that which is real can never die. Whether a person is an ordinary citizen, a soldier or a leader, he must not fear of losing his life, position or wealth. Relationships, wealth and all other worldly objects are just temporary; they are tools to climb the ladder and realize the Self someday. It isn’t hard to guess how beautiful life would be if there is no fear at all.
18. Why is the Bhagavad Gita called a song if it is spoken? Because it is spoken in rhyming meter called “Anushtup” and it contains 32 syllables in each verse. The general theme is in four lines of eight syllables each. In particular verses, a “Trishtup” meter is used, which contains four lines of 11 syllables each. This is used in various poignant slokas in the Gita including Chapter 2, Chapter 8, Chapter 11 etc.
19. The first English edition of the Bhagavad Gita was done in 1785 by Charles Wilkins in London, England. This was only 174 years after the translation of the King James Bible in 1611.
20. Originally written in classical Sanskrit, Bhagavad Gita is till date translated into approximately 175 languages.
21-25 Interesting Facts About Bhagavad Gita
21. With the translation and study of the Bhagavad Gita by Western scholars beginning in the early 18th century, the Bhagavad Gita gained a growing appreciation and popularity. According to the well-known Indian historian and writer Khushwant Singh, Rudyard Kipling’s famous poem “If—” is “the essence of the message of The Gita in English.” – Source
22. Philip Glass retold the story of Gandhi’s early development as an activist in South Africa through the text of the Gita in the opera Satyagraha (1979). The entire libretto of the opera consists of sayings from the Gita sung in the original Sanskrit. In Douglas Cuomo’s Arjuna’s dilemma, the philosophical dilemma faced by Arjuna is dramatised in operatic form with a blend of Indian and Western music styles. The 1993 Sanskrit film, Bhagavad Gita, directed by G. V. Iyer won the 1993 National Film Award for Best Film.
23. There is a Hollywood movie about a golfer and his mysterious caddy which is inspired by the Bhagavad Gita. Starring Matt Damon as R. Junuh (Arjuna) and Will Smith as Bagger Vance (Bhagavan). – Source
24. J. Robert Oppenheimer, American physicist and director of the Manhattan Project, learned Sanskrit in 1933 and read the Bhagavad Gita in the original form, citing it later as one of the most influential books to shape his philosophy of life. Upon witnessing the world’s first nuclear test in 1945, he later said he had thought of the quotation “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds”, verse 32 from chapter 11 of the Bhagavad Gita. – Source
25. Theories on the date of composition of the Gita vary considerably. Scholars accept dates from fifth century to second century BCE as the probable range. Professor Jeaneane Fowler, in her commentary on the Gita, considers second century BCE to be the likely date of composition. Kashi Nath Upadhyaya, a Gita scholar, on the basis of the estimated dates of Mahabharata, Brahma sutras, and other independent sources, concludes that the Bhagavad Gita was composed between fifth and fourth centuries BCE.