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Before we go into the study of Bhagavad Gita, we have to fully understand what is Bhagavad Gita. Who wrote it? When was it written? And who said this to whom and where? What is the significance of this? Why is it considered so important to the Hindus? …. And many more questions.
There are many philosophical ideas that are present in our Hindu religion, which no other religion has. And ‘Bhagavad Gita’ contains the highest of all Philosophical teachings. The holy book of Hindus is the “VEDAS”. So before we try to understand ‘Bhagavad Gita’ we have to understand what is ‘Hinduism’ and what is ‘Vedas’. Let us start with ‘Hinduism’ first.
The word “HINDUISM” is a misnomer.
The word Hindu is a geographical definition, which refers to the people living on the banks of river Sindhu, or people living in the land watered by the river
According to the Historians, this word was first used by the Persians, when they first came to
According the “Encyclopedia of Religion & Ethics”, the word Hindu is not found in any Literature or scripture before the coming of the Muslims to
Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru, in his book “Discovery of India”, says that the earliest occurrence of the word ‘Hindu’ can be traced to a Tantrik of 8th Century.
According to the “New Encyclopedia Britannica” – the word Hinduism was first used by the British writers in the year 1830 to describe the religion and the beliefs of the people of
The right word for Hinduism is ‘Sanaathana Dharma’ that is 'eternal religion', or the 'Vedic Dharma' or the “Religion of the Vedas”.
According to Swamy Vivekananda, ‘the Hindus have received their religion through revelations, the Vedas. They hold that the Vedas are without beginning and without end. It may sound ludicrous to this audience, how a book can be without beginning or end. But by the Vedas no books are meant. They mean the accumulated treasury of spiritual laws discovered by different people in different times. Just as the law of gravitation existed before its discovery and would exist if all humanity forgot it. So is it with the laws that govern the spiritual world.
The moral, ethical and spiritual relationship between soul and soul and between individual spirits and the father of all spirits, were there before their discovery and would remain even if we forget them. The discoverers of these laws are called Rishis and we honor them as perfected beings'.
Concept of Sanaathana Dharma :
“From the high spiritual flights of Vedanta philosophy, of which the latest discoveries of science seems like echoes, to the lowest ideas of idolatry with its multifarious mythology, the agnosticism of the Buddhists and the atheism of the Jains, each and all have place in the Hindu’s religion”.
The holy book of Hindus is the ‘Vedas’, Since, it is the source of all other Hindu scriptures.
The Hindu Scriptural literature is so vast and comprehensive that there is no branch of knowledge left uninvestigated by the great seers of this Country –
The Hindu was never satisfied unless every question that he faced, be it material, scientific, religious, physical, metaphysical, philosophical or purely spiritual, was thoroughly discussed in all its varied aspects, to its irrefutable conclusion. To these people “SANAATANA DHARMA” meant the “ETERNAL VALUES OF LIFE”
The Hindu Scriptural literature with knowledge so vast and comprehensive, can be divided and sub-divided in to many divisions for easy understanding. Please refer to the table “Veda = Knowledge” in the next page. The Knowledge gained by our Rishis were so vast that it practically covered every aspect of life and the science of everything that is and yet to be discovered in this Universe. For our understanding we are dividing the sum of all these knowledge into various segments. On a broader scale the entire knowledge gained can be divided into two namely, Para Vidya (Intuitive knowledge) and Apara Vidya (Intellectual knowledge).
For our study at present we will deal with only Apara Vidya. This is again divided into Secular and Sacred and for our study we will take only Sacred.
Sacred Knowledge can be divided into 2 namely, Srutis dealing with eternal principles and Smritis dealing with practical applications of eternal principles.
Before we go into further study we have to understand the time factor of these collected knowledge. From when and from where, were these knowledge gathered. It is said the during the initial stages of creation, the Supreme Lord Para-Brahman or the Virat Purusha revealed the Vedas to demi-God Brahma Deva the creator. And he in turn revealed it to Swayambhuva Manu who was the first creation. This year according to the Christian calender is 2014, and this means 2014 years have passed since the crucification of Jesus Christ. So, what is this year in Hindu Calender?
According to the Hindu calender it is Kaliyabtham 5115. This means 5115 years have passed since the dissapperance of Lord Krishna from the Earth.
Kali yuga is supposed to have been started since the dissappearance of Lord Krishna from this Earth. The duration of Kali yuga is calculated to be around 4,32,000 years out of which only 5115 years are over. So there is 4,26,885 years more for the Kali Yuga to end and the total annihilation of this world, before creations starts once again. Before Kali Yuga was Dwapara Yuga which lasted for 8,64,000 years.
time was at the end of Dwapara Yuga.
Till the end of Dwapara yuga all the Veda were available as a collective lot and hence there were no divisions. During the end of Dwapara Yuga Maharishi Krishna Dvaipayana Veda Vyasa catagorised these Vedas and divided it into 4 divisions namely Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva.