Finding hope in the Bhagavad Gita's timeless wisdom
The Bhagavad Gita's immortal words can guide us to take care of one another and work for the greater common good during this dark hour of the pandemic
When I started writing on the Bhagavad Gita a couple of years ago, my goal was to translate it as simply as possible—so it would be easier to understand, and also benefit, both first-time readers and those who had struggled with its complexity, language barrier, and so on. I believed it could be a friend, philosopher and guide to one and all, just like it had been to me and my family. Now that I look back, the problems we needed support for seem so small compared to what we are facing now.
Every day the overwhelming second wave of the pandemic exacts a terrible toll, and brings in its wake insurmountable difficulties and unfathomable uncertainty. But as the virus mutates, so must our ability to face it.
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Already, many bravehearts are rising to the challenge, offering support and supplies to complete strangers through social media platforms and offline as well. Several others are contributing by staying home, trying their best to navigate these unprecedented times. Hopefully, many will seek solace in the Gita’s timeless teachings. Here are five key ones that can help us cope with loss and pain, as also renew a sense of hope.
•Control the mind to cope with the new normal: The Gita says that if we don’t control the mind, then it will control us. So, we need to manage our emotions and treat both happy and difficult situations like temporary guests—which keep coming and going but can be handled with patience and resilience.
•Lockdown the ego: The Gita also advises us to use our knowledge and resources for the greater common good. Desire for money, happiness and success is bad only when their fruits are not shared—being driven purely by selfish goals will never make us truly happy. In fact, to be happy in this world is true moksha (liberation), not going to a heaven we know nothing about.
•Be socially distant from greed: The Gita reminds us that there is enough for everyone’s need, but not for their greed—so keep safe distance from over-consumption, hoarding and an unsustainable lifestyle, which deprives others of their rightful share. Remember the hoarding of toilet paper and groceries served no purpose, except to generate panic.
•Wear the mask of faith: It encourages us to keep faith in a higher power and in ourselves. If we have unshakeable faith, we can detach from self-doubt, stress and fear and believe in our hearts that things will get better sooner rather than later.
•Choose the vaccine of compassion: The Gita teaches us to live with love, compassion and understanding. Especially at this time, when even the smallest gestures like donating a meal, sharing a kind smile, or extending a helping hand to the needy can have a profound impact.
This is why the only way ahead in this darkest hour is to take care of each other and work together. As we wait for a new dawn, we need to go all out to marshal every resource and treat the second wave like a second chance to defeat this menace.
Surely, the challenge is huge, but our resolve, infused with confidence and courage, is even bigger.
Richa Tilokani is a communication and advertising professional based in Chennai. She is the author of The Teachings of Bhagavad Gita: Timeless Wisdom for the Modern Age.
FIRST PUBLISHED02.05.2021 | 10:30 AM IST