Welcome to the Gita!
This is one of my most beloved texts. It is full of real life struggles and support and also so much love!
I humbly invite you to join me here on the blog as I seek to draw your attention to some of the gems each chapter offers us. (We will also be talking in depth about each chapter on Monday nights during the 216 Lab. I hope you’ll join me there too!)
Many of the ancient texts that we work with during our yoga practice share a nifty formatting secret.
The secret to enlightenment is in the first line.
First, the text presents the lesson, and then, the explanation. A reader need only read as far as they need to get the information.
Yup, one sentence, maybe even just one word, is all that some seekers need and, POOF, they’ve figured it all out and gone to live in blissful oblivion for an eternity. Most of us though, need to read the rest of the text (multiple times) and a few dozen lifetimes to figure it out.
Even still, knowing that the key is in the first verse gives us a special look into what the most important information in the text is. If we look at the Bhagavad Gita, our current community text, we find the key in chapter 1, verse 1:
dharma-kṣhetre kuru-kṣhetre samavetā yuyutsavaḥ
māmakāḥ pāṇḍavāśhchaiva kimakurvata sañjaya
On the field of dharma,
on the field of Kuru,
desiring to fight,
Were my armies
and indeed those of the sons of Pandu–
how did they act, O Sanjaya?
Dharma. What does this word mean?
I think one of our students put it best when she said that dharma means “your way.”
As yogis, we believe that we are all here for a reason, that reason is to find our way home. And that way is unique to you. Your dharma is your own personal way home. That way may involve what you do for a living or it may not.
The trick is to find your path, and then be brave enough to walk it.
This is MUCH easier said than done. The paths that most of us are encouraged to walk have little to do with spiritual fulfillment. Well-meaning parents and societies teach us that the valued path is the one that brings material security in this world. And there is value to that. Having just had a child of my own, I can tell you I will certainly urge our daughter to be able to take care of herself. But at what cost do we push or have we been pushed to choose a life that is not right for us and how do we change the tide if we need to?
This is a month, then, perhaps for trying to answer the question (or simply pondering the thought and the many likely questions that will follow): “Why am I here?”
No small feat to be sure. But when was the last time, if ever, that you asked your Self that question?
It is never too late to find out!
Many of the teachings to come in the Gita address this search. How to find it, how to be brave, and even why to try.
I hope you join me as we move onward to chapter two next month!