Still unread by many in our western world the Bhagavd Gita has nonetheless influenced the minds of great philosophers and activists who have shared the wisdom of it in their great works. I share with coaching clients the messages contained within it and I have seen lawyers, business people, teachers and other coaches make passionate stands for good in the world as a result of it.
Based on a great battlefield in the text the Mahabarata, it is the story of Krishna and Arjuna and the conversations they have about the battle, of Arjuna's resistance to war, and of the liberation that comes through following one of the three paths of yoga outlined. The pages of this little gem brings forth wisdom I believe is much needed in our modern world. Many great principles are laid out clearly by Krishna, who guides Arjuna as his Charioteer, towards the enemies who stand before him. Much of what is shared is parable, and the enemies he faces represent the thought forms within our own consciousness.
Read the words of 5 game changers who were personally affected by the writings contained within this famous text.
Henry David Thoreau, author of Walden, was a philospher, a tax resister, an abolitionist, an ethusiast of simple living, and a transcendalist. His poetry, essays, books and articles have gone on to influence many others including Tolstoy, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King who seem to have been inspired by some of his thoughts on civil disobedience. Every time I see the name Walden in my life I am reminded of his words.
“In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagavad-Gita, in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seems puny and trivial.”
Helena Blavatsky was a Russian German occultist and founder of the Theosophical society. It was her wish that a reading from the Bagavad Gita be read at commemoration services on the day of her passing, May 8 th which became known as White Lotus Day. In her lifetime she published many writings, the most famous of which was The Secret Doctrine, which collated and organized many of the teachings of different spiritual traditions of the world.
“ A Hindu is a born mystic, and the luxuriant nature of his country has made him a zealous pantheist”
Albert Einstein has left an imprint on the minds of scientists and non-scientists alike, and his legacy will last beyond our lifetimes. His influence on the field of quantum physics, the theory of relativity and our understanding of time as we know it, is sure to be relayed by science teachers for a long time to come. His depth of knowledge in the field of science is immense, but if you have spent any time on facebook you will see that he has left wisdom with us of a spiritual nature as well. Yes, he has been misquoted, but the genuine quotes leave an impression upon us of a scientist who believed in something much greater than our physical world.
"When I read the Bhagavad-Gita and reflect about how God created this universe everything else seems so superfluous." ~ Albert Einstein
Mahatma Gandhi is known as one of the greatest peace activists of the 20 th century, and his acclaim of the principles of non-violence have influenced many subsequent world changers. His life changed after being thrown from a train, and he had to call upon all his strength and knowledge as a western trained lawyer, to inspire the change that came to India. Initiated in to Kriya Yoga, and a regular meditator upon the wisdom of the Gita, it is clear that many of the principles he lived by were discovered during deep internal reflection. It was after hearing Wayne Dyer say that this was the book Gandhi held so dear, that my forays in to the Bhagavad Gita began.
"When doubts haunt me, when disappointments stare me in the face, and I see not one ray of hope on the horizon, I turn to Bhagavad-Gita and find a verse to comfort me; and I immediately begin to smile in the midst of overwhelming sorrow. Those who meditate on the Gita will derive fresh joy and new meanings from it every day."
Ralph Waldo Emerson is one of the most oft quoted spiritual teachers of the 20 th century. A good friend has even named her golden doodle wonderdog after him. His ground breaking essay Nature, which formulated and expressed the philosophy of Transcendentalism ( which brought him and Thoreau in to regular contact ) was well received and lead to a speech called "The American Scholar" which Oliver Wendell Holmes considered to be "America's Intellectual Declaration of Independence".
"I owed a magnificent day to the Bhagavad-Gita. It was the first of books; it was as if an empire spoke to us, nothing small or unworthy, but large, serene, consistent, the voice of an old intelligence which in another age and climate had pondered and thus disposed of the same questions which exercise us."
These authors and activist read much in their time, and it is certain that many other books influenced them. I think you can agree that the beauty of their quotes about this book reflect something of the impact it had upon their journey, their faith, and their legacy. It was reading this book, and applying the wisdom therein, which has helped me out greatly on my path of self-knowledge. It has a special place on my bedside table, and any time life overwhelms me, I think of these five great people and remind myself that I may still yet find deeper meaning in the words it contains.
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