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Let's check your Krishna Quotient || Acharya Prashant, at SPIT Mumbai (2022)

Author Acharya Prashant

Acharya Prashant

7 min
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Questioner (Q): Namaste, sir. A question always comes to my mind when I see Bhagavad Gita. It's a book that shows a way to live life, not a religious book, and many foreign institutes have Bhagavad Gita as a core source in their management courses. Then why this generation in India does not have much knowledge of Bhagavad Gita?

Acharya Prashant (AP): We are so far away from Krishna because the image of Krishna is just too close to us. Compared to us, foreigners find it easier to come to the essence of Krishna because they don't have images or stories about Krishna. No Indian wants to know anything more about Krishna, we already know Krishna! Every single person knows five or ten stories about Krishna and that is all, why do you need to read the Gita? Why do you need to understand Vedant?

We know those five stories: one, how he was stealing butter; two, how he was dancing with the gopis ; third, the mountain on the little finger; fourth, the great snake in the Yamuna river; then five, Sudama. Five stories you know and you are fully confident you know Krishna and beyond that nobody needs to know anything. Every person walking on the road in India is ‘Aham Brahmasmi’ , ‘I too am Brahm’ , and he spits on the road. Says ‘Aham Brahmasmi’ and spits on the road. Why do we need to read the Upanishads then? I'm already Aham Brahmasmi.

Five stories from the Bhagavad Purāṇ , that's all! “Krishna! Obviously, Krishna! Yes, the one in the neighborhood, that mysterious boy, obviously I know of him.”

All my life I've been inviting people to the Gita, teaching Gita, speaking for hours on every single verse of the Gita and not too many people have been interested; why? We know the story, ‘maakhan chor’ . What else is there to know? And there are so many T.V. Serials, are they talking of the Gita? No, they are showing how he made love with all the milkmaids, wooing them, frolicking with them — that's what the T.V. Serials are showing. Or are they educating you on the principles of Gita? The philosophy of Vedanta? Gita is one of the pillars of Vedant, by the way. What they are showing you? The peacocks, the cows, the birds, the girls, and the girls are there in the pond and Krishna does away with their clothes. And for five hours the T.V. producer is just lengthening and lengthening and dragging the whole thing on particular clothes, girls, what is she saying? Ninety per cent of that is not there even in the Puranas .

Forget about the Gita, the stuff, the image and the stories that you carry about Krishna are not there even in the Bhagavad Purāṇ , and from nowhere are they coming except just from imagination. And everybody knows Krishna. That's why nobody reads the Gita.

A lot of research on the Gita, a lot of scholarship on the Gita have actually come from abroad — India’s history. It is such a tragedy, so unfortunate it is that we have all the trash and the gems we had have been rather used by foreigners. Advait Vedant is greatly respected abroad. Bhagavad Gita is understood and read abroad. You have University courses on the Gita hardly in India.

They were wise enough to take the best out of your spiritual heritage, and they took only the best that was there. All the trash was left for the Indians, all the trash you just enjoy — Jhaad fook, Tona-Totka , occult flying snake — that is for you. The great philosophical jewels, the foreigners accepted them, respected them, learnt them and taught them.

Today, if you talk of non-duality — non-duality is a much bigger thing, Advait is a much bigger thing in the US than in India. It's a matter of great joy. It's also a matter of great shame, is it not? Attend to the valuable things in your heritage and keep the trash aside, and believe me, there is a lot of trash in your spiritual heritage. Let's be honest and acknowledge that. Because if you will not keep the trash aside, you will not be able to value and worship the jewels.

Is it possible to worship both? Please, tell me. Can you worship the dust and the gems alike? In fact, you want to polish the gem so that the dust can be cleared away. Indians have chosen the dust, the West has been able to identify the gems. All the nonsense in the name of religion, Indians have lapped up — all the nonsense, all the riots, all rubbish, all superstition in the name of religion — and Indians are very happy with that. And all the great things in your spiritual heritage, all the wonderful philosophies, I'm repeating, the West has happily, smartly accepted that.

Q: Sir, is there any way to develop this in our bodies?

AP: Try to understand it, and when you read Gita, first of all, exert yourself fully to understand what Krishna is trying to say.

Q: When I read Gita, I read and I understand something different. But when I listen something, my seniors, my professors taught me something different. As the many times I read Gita, the meaning is different.

AP: Then don't settle down. Don't believe that you are right. Equally, don't believe that the others are right. Keep investigating! Keep investigating what is the real spirit of Gita? How is one verse related to the other? And remember that the Gita is founded on the principles of Vedant. If you are not clear about the right meaning of a verse, then you have to refer to Vedantic principles. Vedant will ultimately decide what a verse in the Gita means. Because Vedant comes first, after that comes The Bhagavad Gita. You don't need to settle down. You don't need to say what you are saying is the final thing, equally, you don't need to accept what someone else is saying is a final thing. Be on a continuous journey of inquiry.

Q: Sir, when I read Gita and in the place where I live and the environment I am in, when I talk to my friends about movies and some recent movies like Pushpa (name of a movie) and something, they will involve with me. But Sir, when I talk to them about Gita and something which makes our life better, they don't talk. And they think like, I am becoming a saint and our parents also thinks that reading these type of Upanishads and Purāṇ will make you a saint, you will go on another path.

AP: Why are you with such friends?

Q: No Sir, the environment is like this.

AP: You can choose the right elements in your environment; nobody is helpless. And today, in the age of technology, you can have a virtual environment. Your friends can come from anywhere or does your physical neighbor have to be your friend? If he is not worth it, ignore him. Try to help him at first, see whether he listens, but if he is insistent that he wants to talk only about Pushpa and not about Gita, then you say, “You keep Pushpa (movie) and I keep Gita.”

Q: Yes Sir, I got the point.

AP: Got the point? Create your own environment. People who do not respect the Gita, do not deserve to be your friends. Full stop!

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