Bhagavad Gita - Guide For The Young Print E-mail

While the rest of the world was still in the dark ages the wise Indian had discovered the formula for Excellence. The focus shifted from conquering the world to gaining control over the mind. The era of meritocracy came into being. Develop merit, the world will amply reward you. An excellent musician, outstanding sportsperson or brilliant scientist needs only to focus on mastering his skill. Wealth, fame and accolades will follow. The Age of Knowledge Capital dawned in India centuries ago!


Excellence was not the exclusive privilege of the chosen few. Everyone was included – from the highest, most gifted, to the lowest, least endowed. There were no qualifying exams, no grades to be sought, and no heartbreak over not having obtained the minimum marks. The pathway to excellence was simple.


The Bhagavad Gita, written 5000 years ago, addresses the Arjunas of today – dynamic, ambitious, young adults seeking excellence in their respective fields. The young today are talented, knowledgeable and have the expertise to achieve success. But many seem to fail due to last-minute nerves. A brilliant student who is well-prepared for the exams is unable to tap into his knowledge and performs badly. An outstanding cricketer fails due because of his obsession for the century. A job aspirant fumbles at the interview as he is anxious to land the job.


In the sixth chapter of the Bhagavad Gita Verse 1, Krsna addresses this very problem. He says – One who does what one ought to do without depending on the fruit of action is a sannyasi, a yogi, not one without agni (ideal) or action.


Action is under your control. Fruit is dependent on many factors beyond your influence. Dependence on the fruit makes you a slave to the world. The First Class in the exam or the Olympic Gold is not under your control. But nobody can take away your knowledge or the fact that you are an outstanding athlete. Find fulfilment in that. While acting, give of yourself to the action. Focus on doing it to the best of your ability. Enjoy the action. Obtain merit. The fruit will come to you. Success will be yours.


How can you act without a fruit in mind? If there is no goal action comes to a halt. So you must fix an ideal, one that is beyond your selfish, self-centred interests. The higher the ideal, the greater is the energy and enthusiasm to work. But if you think of the goal while acting the mind shifts from the present action to the fruit which belongs to the future. You no longer concentrate on the present. The action becomes flawed, resulting in failure. And you will be stressed out, agitated, disturbed. When a student is anxious to get good marks the mind is not focussed on the question paper. He commits a series of mistakes and underperforms. A batsman in his nineties thinks of the hundred, not of the next ball, and gets out!


Fix a higher goal. Work out a plan of action. While acting focus entirely on it. Do not allow the thought of fruit to interfere with the action. The action will be perfect. Success will be yours! And your mind will be at peace. Such a person is defined as a sannyasi – a person of renunciation. Not a celibate priest or one who has retired to the Himalayas!


Then Krsna gives the disqualifications. A sannyasi is not one without a higher ideal. A selfish person with a myopic view of life does not achieve excellence nor is he happy. To excel and be happy one must necessarily have a higher mission in life. And act dynamically. An inactive, lethargic person will also not achieve success or happiness.


Centuries before Six Sigma, Vedanta prescribed a six-point path to success in the Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 3, Verse 30. It consists of two aspects – creating energy and plugging the dissipation of energy.


Create Energy


Focus – The intellect, the discriminating faculty in you, directs all activities to the achievement of the goal. All energy – light, wind or water – gains power when it is unidirectional. So also with thoughts. When thoughts are focussed on one goal they gain power. The same thoughts meandering in different directions lose power.


Surrender – Intellectual focus must be backed by emotional support, loyalty, devotion. Then the power of the goal vests in you. Mahatma Gandhi had surrendered to the nation. The power of 300 million Indians was with him. The convergence of mind and intellect brings about creativity.


Action – The body must act dedicatedly towards the ideal. The more you act the more energy you create. An athlete has unbelievable energy. A couch potato lacks energy. So include a daily slot for exercise in your life and see the difference.


Plug Dissipation


Energy is wasted in three ways – worry over the past, anxiety about the future and frenzy in the present. The intellect must focus the mind on the present action and not allow the mind to meander into wasteful avenues of the past and future. While writing the exam a student’s mind shifts to the high scores he is seeking. Thus even if he is well prepared for the exam he commits a series of blunders. Thus he underachieves and undermines his potential.


One who creates energy and does not dissipate it becomes a tremendous success.