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  Message of Gita

Krishna and the Gita

[The following is a summary of a speech delivered by Gandhiji at Arsikere in Mysore State]
We do not know what Shri Krishna?s life means for us, we do not read the Gita, we make no attempt to teach it to our children. The Gita is such a transcendental book that men of every creed, age and clime may read it with respect, and find in it the principles of their respective religions. If we thought of Krishna on every Janmashtami day and read the Gita and resolved to follow its teachings, we should not be in our present sorry plight.

Shri Krishna served the people all his life; he was a real servant of the people. He could have led the hosts at Kurukshetra, but he preferred to be Arjuna?s charioteer. His whole life was one unbroken Gita of karma. He refused proud Duryodhana?s sweets and preferred humble Vidura?s spinach. As a child he was cowherd and we still know him by the name of Gopala. But we, his worshippers, have neglected and cow today, the Adi-Karnatakas, slaughter cows and eat beef, and our infants and invalids have to grow without cow?s milk.

Krishna knew no sleep or idleness. He kept sleepless vigil of the world, we his posterity have become indolent and forgotten the use of our hands. In the Bhagwadgita Lord Krishna has shown the path of bhakti - which means the path of karma. Lokmanya Tilak has shown the path of bhakti-which means the path of karma.

Lokmanya Tilak has shown that whether we desire to be bhaktas or jnanis, karma is the only way; but the karma should not be for self but for others. Action for one?s own self binds, action for the sake of others delivers from bondage. What can be the altruistic action which can be universally done, by Hindus, Mussulmans, Christians, by men, women and children? I have tried to demonstrate that spinning alone is that sacrificial act, for that alone can make us do something in God?s name, something for the poorest, something that can infuse activity in their idle limbs.

Lord Krishna has also taught that to be a true bhakta we should make no difference between a brahmana and a scavenger. If that is true, there can be no place for untouchability in Hinduism. If you are still hugging that superstition, you can cleanse yourself by getting rid of it on this the sacred day of Krishna?s birth. He who swears by the Gita may know no distinction between Hindu and Mussulman, for Lord Krishna has declared that he who adores God in a true spirit by whatsoever name adores Him. The path of bhakti, karma, love as expounded in the Gita, leaves no room for the despising of man by man.
Young India, 1-9-27

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