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Bhagavad Gita Jayanti

Known as the meeting point of several multi-faceted cultures, India is renowned for hosting countless fairs and festivals, across many religions and faiths. One of them is the Gita Jayanti, the occasion denoting the birth of Srimad Bhagavad Gita. It is one of the numerous celebrations performed in this country.

Gita Jayanti

Bhagavad Gita is worshipped as the holy scripture of the Hindus. It is believed to be divulged by Lord Krishna to Arjuna during the Mahabharata battle that occurred in Kurukshetra. The Bhagavad Gita Jayanti is an auspicious occasion observed annually on Shukla Ekadashi in Margashirsha month. If we take a look at the English calendar, it tends to fall between November to December. Gita Jayanti 2021 date is set on 14th December. Devotees of Lord Krishna including the ISKCON (International Society of Krishna Consciousness) commemorate this day with a grand celebration and fanfare.

 

Historical Background and Significance

The exposition of Srimad Bhagavad Gita is believed to have emerged just before the epic battle of Kurukshetra. When the day of the war arrived, the armies from both sides showed up on the battleground. Before the battle started, Arjuna requested Lord Krishna, who was his charioteer, to drive the chariot to the middle of the field from where he could view both armies.

Arjuna became emotional when he saw his Gurus, Grandsire and other relatives. He became uneasy and turned away from the battlefield. The idea of waging war on those who raised him as well as those he grew up with made him sick. He asked for Lord Krishna’s advice and informed him about his unexpected change of heart. Then, the divine deity Krishna chose the Vishvarupa avatar and showed Arjuna his Omni-form to make him understand.

The holy text contains questions asked by a confused Arjuna and the responses given by Shri Krishna. However, to reinstate Dharma and put an end to his extended family’s wrongdoings, Arjuna was forced to lift his weapon. After listening to Lord Krishna, he succeeded in overcoming his emotions after realizing what his Dharma (duty) is. Consequently, Arjuna was able to fell the mighty Bhishma Pitamah on the battleground which ultimately turned the tide in Pandavas’ favour.

Sanjaya, who could witness anything that happened anywhere thanks to Ved Vyasa’s blessings, narrated everything to Dhritarashtra. This is the origin tale of the Srimad Bhagavad Gita. It is also famous as ‘The Song of God’ that assists in unearthing life’s spiritual wisdom and philosophy.

This is why Gita Jayanti is widely considered to be the auspicious day when the divine deity Krishna recited the Gita to Arjuna. This holy book comprises Lord Krishna’s 700 verses and is believed to be the most worshipped scripture in Indian literature. The Bhagavad Gita quotes and verses of this text are based on how an individual should conduct one’s duty with complete righteousness. The Gita imparts vital values, realities, and duties of life. The heart of Hinduism lies in every word etched in the Bhagavad Gita.

 

Lessons of Bhagavad Gita

There are several lessons we can learn from this ancient Hindu scripture. We can try to incorporate some of them into our daily lives:

Dharma (Sacred Duty): All of us come into this world with a ‘duty’ we must accomplish during our lifetime. For Pandava Prince Arjuna, it was the responsibility of being a warrior during the battle. But for the rest of us, it could be the duty of being a good daughter, mom, or friend. Sacred duty is the moral order that withstands the society, cosmos and the person. We can utilize this concept to help us in our daily responsibilities by not viewing them as burdens but sacred duties we need to fulfill.

Disciplined Action: In Mahabharata, Arjuna hesitates in the middle of the battleground, thus forgoing his sacred duty as a warrior. Then Lord Krishna orders him to take action and fulfill his responsibilities. We can connect to Arjuna. In difficult times, we are often paralyzed and plagued with doubt and fear. The lesson that we can learn from here is to never stop turning the wheel that has already been set in motion because when we do, we bring our development and growth to a halt.

Self-Knowledge: The divine deity Shri Krishna discusses a lot about self-mastery. Without it, we tend to be like an ‘enemy at war’. Lord Krishna speaks to us about how we need to break ignorance with self-knowledge. Our knowledge is often clouded by our desires. We tend to think that the material things we possess and the titles we hold can help support us, but in reality, they are all short-lived. Krishna told Arjuna to not worry about the aftermath, but rather to fight this war as it is his sacred duty on this planet.

 

How to Celebrate Gita Jayanti?

Gita Jayanti is celebrated with a lot of pomp and fanfare. This auspicious occasion is venerated by reading the holy Bhagavad Gita and having discourses with well-read priests and scholars about how it has been helping humanity even today. Temples devoted to Shri Krishna commemorate this day grandly, which includes conducting puja with special prayers. Worshippers from all over India and even abroad, like to pay a visit to Kurukshetra on this sacred day and take a holy bath in the ponds.

Devotees of Shri Krishna are also known to observe a fast on this day as it falls on Ekadashi. Individuals who are fasting need to maintain purity from the day preceding Ekadashi, which is referred to as the Chaitra Shukla Pakshya Dashami. The person who is keeping the fast needs to sleep on the ground on Dashami Tithi night, prior to Ekadashi. The duration of the fast is for one day and worshippers are required to adhere to all rituals since Dashami.

A devotee should rise early in the morning and take a bath. Post bathing, the worshipper should conduct all the ceremonies of the puja and pray to Lord Vishnu/Satya Narayana. Numerous devotional songs are sung as well as danced to. The key objective to celebrating Gita Jayanti is to recite the sacred verses of Gita and then apply them in our everyday life. It helps human beings lead a productive and healthy life.

There have been several organized celebrations that help the youth learn the value of Dharma thanks to explanations of the Gita on this auspicious festival. Over the years, the Gita Jayanti festival is not only observed in India but also celebrated in countries such as Malaysia and Singapore on a massive scale. Every ISKCON temple in the world honours this day with all the rituals and offerings to the Lord.

Gita Jayanti Puja Procedure

  • Start your day early in the morning, if possible, during Brahma Muhurat (exactly two hours prior to sunrise).
  • Wear clean clothes after a good bath where you scrub yourself clean.
  • Do meditation and take a pledge that you would conduct the puja with the utmost sincerity.
  • Sprinkle the holy Gangajal to cleanse the puja room.
  • A wooden chowki needs to be covered with a fresh piece of red or yellow cloth.
  • You can keep either an idol or an image of Shri Krishna on the chowki.
  • Place the oil lamp on the chowki and light it.
  • Offer Kumkum, Haldi and Chandan to the divine deity Krishna.
  • Use a fresh piece of red cloth to cover the holy Bhagavad Gita and keep it adjacent to the image/idol of Lord Krishna.
  • Now, offer Chandan, Kumkum and Haldi to the Gita.
  • Then present Akshat (turmeric mingled with raw rice), tailed by Pushpam (flowers), Deepam (lamp), Gandham (natural aroma), Dhoop (incense), and Naivedhyam (food), to the lord.
  • Finish the puja by performing the Aarti.
  • Pray to the Bhagavad Gita with folded hands and then perform the Gita Path. It is considered sacred if you read the Gita or listen to the revered scripture’s recitation on this day.
 

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International Gita Mahotsav

The festival of Gita Jayanti helps bring forth a cultural and moral renaissance among the society. The main aim of observing this holy day is to enlighten people with the sacred and immortal heritage of the Bhagavad Gita. The Government of Haryana has been commemorating this festival in conjunction with the Kurukshetra Development Board in Kurukshetra city since 1989.

At first, only religious and cultural programs were offered but subsequently, a wide array of academic, social and cultural programs were integrated with the festival. Organized blood camps, eye camps, dental care along with arranging weddings of poor people, adoption of orphans and other welfare programs were also conducted.

In 2016, the government of Haryana took the initiative to celebrate Gita Jayanti as International Gita Mahotsav. In subsequent years, the participation of global craftsmen and artists in the cultural activities played a huge role in drawing a massive amount of people to visit Kurukshetra and partake in the festivities.

Several Indians, as well as foreign experts, took part in the seminar on the Gita that was arranged by Kurukshetra University. Some of the main attractions of this festival include discussions on the Gita in ‘Sant Sammelan’, global chanting of the Gita by 18,000 students, water laser show at Brahma Sarovar, Gita Sobha Yatra, performances of talented artists, delicious delicacies from numerous food stalls from different regions of India as well as an enormous craft mela.

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