The Gita & Change
The Gita is a book about change. It’s protagonist, Arjuna, is changing his mind about leading the fight. He is having a ‘reality’ check as he faces his opponents, many of whom he knows. He is also facing the consequences of this war – no matter how important or needed, there will be much loss and disruption.
As Arjuna moves through his crisis, asking questions and seeking guidance, we learn so many things about change – both change that happens to us and change we can make happen. It’s a book to help us navigate life as it presents itself before us. We are not Arjuna, but certainly do have our own battles, and face the challenge of change in many similar ways.
Below are some excerpts from the the translations and purports to Bhagavad-gita As It Is that explore the topic of change. While some of us might be experiencing a boring, soul-killing unchanging life, and others struggling with too much change and complexities, either way the Gita can help us respond to questions or situations we may face, and support us in the decisions and choices we have to make.
May the following excerpts inspire you to dig deeper into this great book of knowledge and access its potential to bring deep and lasting change to your life.
On changing our karma:
“The effects of karma may be very old indeed. We are suffering or enjoying the results of our activities from time immemorial, but we can change the results of our karma, or our activity, and this change depends on the perfection of our knowledge. We are engaged in various activities. Undoubtedly we do not know what sort of activities we should adopt to gain relief from the actions and reactions of all these activities, but this is also explained in the Bhagavad-gita.”
Introduction to Bhagavad-gita As It Is
On the constant change in life and ultimately at death:
“As the embodied soul continuously passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. A sober person is not bewildered by such a change.”
On changing bodies:
“Those who are seers of the truth have concluded that of the nonexistent [the material body] there is no endurance and of the eternal [the soul] there is no change. This they have concluded by studying the nature of both.”
On the unchanging soul:
“This individual soul is unbreakable and insoluble, and can be neither burned nor dried. He is everlasting, present everywhere, unchangeable, immovable and eternally the same.”
On changing desires:
“Arjuna is hearing the science of God from Krishna. The living entity, if he submits to this hearing process, will lose his long-cherished desire to dominate material nature, and gradually and proportionately, as he reduces his long desire to dominate, he comes to enjoy spiritual happiness. In a Vedic mantra it is said that as he becomes learned in association with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he proportionately relishes his eternal blissful life.”
Purport to Bhagavad-gita 13.22
On changing consciousness:
“Here the living entity is described as isvara, the controller of his own body. If he likes, he can change his body to a higher grade, and if he likes he can move to a lower class. Minute independence is there. The change his body undergoes depends upon him. At the time of death, the consciousness he has created will carry him on to the next type of body. If he has made his consciousness like that of a cat or dog, he is sure to change to a cat’s or dog’s body. And if he has fixed his consciousness on godly qualities, he will change into the form of a demigod. And if he is in Krishna consciousness, he will be transferred to Krishnaloka in the spiritual world and will associate with Krishna.”
Purport to Bhagavad-gita 15.8