Why I Read the Bhagavad Gita Nightly
Spiritual books are essential for your inward transformation, especially, if you don’t have a Guru. Many books by great yogis have been written on how to conquer the mind and body. The Patanjali sutras (teachings) also explains how to conquer the mind and body. Eventually, you will find “the book” that touches you inwards. For some, it can be the “The Power of Now” or the “Autobiography of a Yogi”. The Autobiography of a Yogi was a book that touched Steve Jobs inwards. There is a story in Silicon Valley that Steve Jobs always recommended CEO’s the Autobiography of a Yogi if they were looking for an inward transformation. From reading Steve Jobs autobiography is how I learned about Yogananda (author of the Autobiography of a Yogi). For me, it has come to the Bhagavad Gita.
Before I began reading the Gita, I read the 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva by Guru Chenrezik. When I lived in a Tibetan Nunnery, I asked a Buddhist Monk what book I should read to begin learning Lord Buddha’s teachings and he gave me the 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva. It was difficult to understand each practice message because I was in the early stages of my transformation. I memorized the 37 Practices and put them to practice every day. When we are angry we let the ego take over us and act on ignorance. The 37 Practices is a reminder of what to accept and reject, and how to conduct yourself properly. It is a way to live a balanced life, especially, for those on the path to self-realization. I recited the 37 Practices along the Tibetan Nuns at the Gompa (Buddhist Temple) during praying. The Tibetan Nuns woke up early in the morning and by 4:30 am praying begins until 7:20 am. It was an interesting experience to hear the bells and Tibetan traditional long horn sounds before sunrise. I didn't need an alarm because the sounds woke me up. When I recited the 37 Practices, I sat in a cross leg position. Because I was in my early stages of the transformation, sitting on a cross leg was challenging. My legs will get numb and had a lot of pain on my knees. I was amazed to see nuns of all ages sitting in a cross leg position reading Lord Buddha’s sutras with so much faith, focus, and devotion. If a nun begins to fall asleep, a senior nun will stand behind the nun that is falling asleep and remained there until the nun is fully awake. During praying, the nuns made offerings to Lord Buddha. Food was also offered to everyone inside the Gompa. Here is where I began to learn the offering of food to the Gods and never to waste food. The nuns warm smile and caring when they offered me food was a humble experience and I never had such an experience because I never really understood the feeling of love and compassion. I lack those feelings and although I had relationships before, I never love someone because I didn’t know how to feel compassion and love for myself.
Before I go to bed I read one discourse of the Bhagavad Gita. There are many interpretations of the Bhagavad Gita written by different authors. I read the Gita by Swami Sivananda. The teachings of Lord Krishna are universal. The dialogue between Lord Krishna and Arjuna makes the Gita very easy to read. But it is important to read it with much involvement and reflect after reading a discourse. It is an eye-opening if you open your heart. I’ve been reading the Gita for the past year. It is my counselor when I reflect on my daily activities. The more I read the Gita the more it becomes a part of me. Each time I read a discourse again, I feel like I’m learning something new. It guides me on how to continue working on my body and mind; how to discriminate between good and evil; how to perform my duties without the fruits of the action; thus, not creating more karma and let go of the attachment; how to develop wisdom and become aware of the 5 elements (earth, water, fire, air, and ether), ego, intellect, mind, sense organs, organs of actions, desire, and aversion; how through wisdom I can destroy karma; and how to identify which of my actions fall under Nature's Qualities (Sattva (Purity), Raja (Action, Greed, Desire), or Tamas (Ignorance, Hate, Fear, Doubt). There has been times when I had situations whether good or bad, that I reflected right away on what is the learning experience from each situation. The Gita is my dictionary and I have reflected my experiences through the discourses This is how I practice my dharma daily by following Lord Krishna’s teachings. For seekers who are on the path to enlightenment they take different types of yoga. What I love from the Gita is that it clearly and in the most simplistic way explains you the different types of yoga you can do. For some it may be Karma Yoga or others Bhakti Yoga. It also gives you tips on how to meditate and apply moderation to your spiritual practices. Sometimes, we can be too hard on ourselves and if we push too hard, it disturbs the mind. As in Buddhism say, lead through the middle way. Same for the Gita - with moderation in your daily activities, you can progress. A self-realized being is beyond Nature's Qualities (5 senses, ego, mind, and intellect). He/she is beyond the body and mind. He/she will be calm and serene in joy or pain. He/she will not be attached to this world’s desires; thus, performing all actions for the benefit of humanity and the lord without any expectations from those actions. From any action/experience, there will not be like or dislike - you will just stay neutral. It can take some time to absorb the teachings and I will recommend to just keep reading nightly. Why nightly? Because when you are asleep your subconscious mind still working so you want to rewire your brain by fueling new information that will be store in your hippocampus. So if you want to take in information, this is the best way to do it. The Gita was taught to Arjuna in one hour during the battle. It is not easy to absorb the information. One recommendation I will give you is to not bring the analytical mind when you are reflecting on the teachings. My tip is to meditate and when you are in a calm state, listen to your heart for guidance. Otherwise, the analytical mind or the ego, will take you on a wild ride.
Here is a pdf link to Sri Swami Sivananda Bhagavad Gita https://bit.ly/2Ha7iQ8
If you have any questions, by all means, feel free to make any comments or shoot me an email directly.
Have a wonderful reading.