The Bhagavad Gita is Sublimely Simple, Profound and Liveable. (Gita Talk 5)

Via Bob Weisenberg
on Sep 18, 2011
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The Bhagavad Gita is Sublimely Simple, Profound, and Liveable

Does this statement startle you?

I’m guessing that many of you feel the opposite about the Gita at this point–that it is complex, obtuse and perhaps even upsetting.

The last two weeks we have talked about complexity.

This week we’re going to talk about blinding simplicity.

What is the blindingly simple message of the Gita?




As they say about the Golden Rule, all the rest is commentary.

The Chapters we have read so far, 1-6, deal primarily with the first two of these themes.

It’s a great revelation to read the Gita by major theme instead of in the order it’s written.  That’s why I painstakingly created Gita in a Nutshell: Big Ideas & Best Quotations, to dramatically illustrate this point.

Let’s just take this first theme above, for example, which is Gita in a Nutshell #1.  The Gita contains many powerful passages on this theme, but they are scattered throughout the text.  When you read them all together, as in the link below, the main ideas jump off the page with crystalline clarity:

2.48, 2.50, 3.7, 3.19, 3.25, 3.30, 4.18-24, 5.23-25, 6.1-4, 7.28, 11.55, 12.13-14, 18.53

 (If you’re curious and want to look ahead, all the other major themes of the Gita are also available this way in Gita in a Nutshell.  But we’ll be getting to them all as we move through the rest of the text, too, so there is no hurry.)

I hope you find this surprising and thought provoking.

I hope it helps give you a vision of where we’re going, so that you can better negotiate the challenges of the text.

If you are overwhelmed by the Gita, I hope you find it encouraging.

I suggest you come back to it often when you’re feeling confused.

And if you think I’m full of beans, I look forward to your critique.

Please give us your thoughts:

–How are you feeling about the Bhagavad Gita at this point?

–How did you feel about the reading for this week, chapters 5-6, p. 81-98?

–What did you like?  What did you dislike?

–How does it relate to your life?

–What questions would you like to ask?

The reading for the next week is
Gita in a Nutshell #1 above,
plus Chapter 7, p. 99-105.

Previous Blog:
Gandhi’s Bible or a Call to War? (Gita Talk 4)

Next Blog:
And Now for Something Completely Different. (Gita Talk 6)

All Blogs:
Welcome to Gita Talk:
Online Discussion of the Bhagavad Gita. (Round 2)


Ongoing Resources:

Gita in a Nutshell: Big Ideas & Best Quotations

Yoga Demystified

The Original Sixteen Session Gita Talk


Join Gita Talk Facebook Group for weekly notices
and to meet fellow participants.


About Bob Weisenberg

Bob Weisenberg: Editor, Best of Yoga Philosophy / Former Assoc. Publisher, elephant journal / Author: Yoga Demystified * Bhagavad Gita in a Nutshell * Leadership Is Like Tennis, Not Egyptology / Co-editor: Yoga in America (free eBook) / Creator: Gita Talk: Self-paced Online Seminar / Flamenco guitarist: "Live at Don Quijote" & "American Gypsy" (Free CD's) / Follow Bob on facebook, Twitter, or his main site: Wordpress.


11 Responses to “The Bhagavad Gita is Sublimely Simple, Profound and Liveable. (Gita Talk 5)”

  1. ARCreated says:

    I am feeling like ….I'm really behind in my reading ;9

  2. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
    Join us! Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook
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  3. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Just posted to "Featured Today" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

  4. sorry about that above it should look like this:

    "Pleasures from external objects
    are wombs of suffering, Arjuna.
    They have their beginnings and their ends;
    no wise man seeks joy among them." (BG 5.22)

    "He who finds peace and joy
    and radiance within himself
    that man becomes one with God
    and vanishes into God's bliss." (BG 5.24)

    "With a mind grown clear and peaceful
    freed from selfish desires,
    absorbed in the Self alone,
    he is called a true man of yoga." (BG 6.18)

    "Striving with constant effort,
    cleansing himself of all sin
    through many lifetimes, at last
    he attains the ultimate goal." (BG 6.45)

  5. "He who finds peace and joy
    and radiance within himself
    that man becomes one with God
    and vanishes into God's bliss." (BG 5.24)

    I love this…I feel like it sums up how I feel about the whole religion/God/universe thing…those moments where we connect to peace and joy there is this amazing glow. Some people call it God, some people call it Self, Universal Energy, etc. etc. whatever name you give it…radiant bliss is a fabulous description. I want to read this passage in a few other translations to get a fuller picture.

    I agree – Sublimely Simple, Profound and Liveable.

  6. Mark White says:

    Help me please; where in the history of man does "sin" and "evil" come into the human existance? The tiger eats the lamb and it taste good. The frog eats the fly and it taste good. Both actions produce a positive experience but when it comes to man (human beings) there exists this so called higher condition that I call vivid imagination. We talk to ourselves and create a cosmic creator unable to complete creation without practicing yoga. "…through many lifetimes," Come on now where does this statement show up in the present. To me it is as ficticuos as fantasy. Arjuna; wake up you are dreaming but if you try real hard you might believe it and if you do yoga before the war begins you might get a pass and not have to use your bow to kill the bad guys. Not to worry; man will one day blow millions of people into a flash hell in a moment in time. Chapter 7 Wisdom and Realization; can't wait <3 Peace

  7. Scott_Newsom says:


    I don't take any of the BV as literal historical fact. The creator part is also just speculation in my view. Still, there seems to be a lot of metaphorical richness in the book, some of which I find inspiring, other parts not so much. Is there anything in there so far that you like? Thanks for your honest and real post. Its like a breath of fresh air compared to some of the preaching going on here.

  8. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Just posted to "Popular Lately" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

  9. chiara_ghiron says:

    Statements in the BG are not to be taken literally, otherwise why would they still resonate so much with some of us, after more than a thousand years or thereabout?
    The many lives may indicate that hope is not lost if we try to overcome our attachment. Just trying is already plenty, and the more we do it, the happier we will be. And yes, there will probably be another Hiroshima or something along those lines, but this does not mean that we cannot or should not try and work towards making these events rarer and rarer. I do not think this is preaching. In fact, trying to lead a happier life through non attachment and abandoning poisonous thoughts might be the most selfish action we take!

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