Rank #1: Episode 1 - What is Bhagavad Gita? Who is Krishna? - Introduction
In this episode, we will discuss:
- What is Bhagavad Gita? We will give you a brief introduction to the Gita.
- Who is Krishna? We will discuss if we need to see Krishna as God to understand Gita.
Bonus: We will discuss Star Wars and how Anakin/Luke Skywalkers face similar situations in Star Wars as Arjuna, the central character of the Bhagavad Gita. And do not miss our story from the movie Avatar.
Summary of the episode:
Is Bhagavad Gita for Hindus only? Or for Krishna’s devotees, yogis, or elderly people? Is Gita all about one message, which is, do your duty? Is Gita all about praying, and chanting? Is it a war manual? Does it advocate war? No, no, and no!
Was Krishna a yoga teacher or a brilliant strategist? Or a life coach or a business leader? Or a philosopher or a behavioral scientist? Or did he even exist?
Do we need to believe Krishna as God to understand verses of the Bhagavad Gita? ABSOLUTELY NOT.
In fact, we might make many Krishna’s devotees uncomfortable because, at no point, we will preach Krishna as God. Instead, our focus is to promote mindful living and mental well-being; and how we can be successful in life by following some of these practical teachings of the Bhagavad Gita.
You can read more about this episode here: Bhagavad Gita for Beginners: Brief Introduction
May 12 2020
Rank #2: Episode 2 - Duryodhana's Entitled Mindset - Chapter 1.1
In this episode, we will discuss
1. Can we let go of our desire?
2. What is a creative desire? What is a destructive desire?
3. Why was Duryodhana so unhappy? We will discuss his character and analyze his entitled mindset.
BONUS: Do not miss the story of 99 Club. It is one of the best moral stories we have heard in a long time.
May 15 2020
Rank #3: Episode 3: Krishna's Role as a Charioteer_Chapter 1.2
In this episode, we will discuss
1. What kind of person is ready for wisdom - we will discuss why Krishna chose Arjuna but not Yudhisthira or Bhima?
2. What does Krishna's Role as a Charioteer teach us?
- Don't miss our story from the Disney movie - Ratatouille
- Who is Yudhisthira and who is Bhima in Marvel movies?
- Martin Luther King's Noble Peace Prize - Speech
May 20 2020
Rank #4: Episode 4: Samkhya Yoga_Krishna's First Teaching_Chapter 2.1
Krishna's first teaching, which is also known as Samkhya Yoga, speaks about our immortal nature: the Atman, that never dies. Thus Krishna does not lead us from stage to stage of spiritual awareness. Instead, Krishna begins with the ultimate premise - the immortal soul is more important than the passing world.
In this episode, we will focus on Krishna's first teaching, which is, the relationship between soul and body. While describing the concept of Atman, Purusha or soul, we will discuss
- How does Krishna take references from the Upanishads and Samkhya Philosophy?
- Are Upanishads part of four Vedas that come under Shruti Hindu scripture?
- What is Samkhya Philosophy? Why was it one of the most popular doctrines in ancient India?
- A brief introduction to Vedanta philosophy, focusing on Advaita Vedanta philosophy. How is Advaita Vedanta philosophy different from Samkhya philosophy?
We have written a blog explaining the concept of Samkhya philosophy at our website One Story Avenue
What is Samkhya Philosophy?
It regards the universe as two independent realities, purusha which is the consciousness or atman and prakriti which is matter. Samkhya philosophy is known for its theory of gunas (qualities, innate tendencies). This Samkhya theory of guṇas was widely discussed, developed, and refined by various schools of Indian philosophies.
Sage Kapila, the founder of Samkhya philosophy, created a sophisticated system of explaining how prakriti has three distinct qualities (Sattava, Rajas and Tamas) and how these three qualities of nature influence human intelligence and ego. It is a complex philosophy, but very useful in our daily life; because it helps us think about looking at the bigger picture.
While the Samkhya school considers the Vedas a reliable source of knowledge, it is an atheistic philosophy. The existence of God or a supreme being is not directly asserted nor considered relevant by the Samkhya philosophers.
Why did Krishna start with the most complex philosophy?
Krishna is just giving us all different options to find our inner peace. In his first teaching, Krishna is telling people to rise above the conditioning of life’s dualities and identify with the Atman or the immortal self. Basically, he is asking Arjuna to have this detachment from pleasure and pain.
There is a leadership and life mantra here. One should not get carried away with or get too attached to either success or failure. If you are too attached, success might make you obnoxious and arrogant; and failure might make you desperate and depressed.
What is Vedanta Philosophy?
Vedanta literally means End of Vedas. Veda- Anta – and Anta means the end. Now it is not necessarily negative. It also means the highest knowledge of all Vedas. These are the three foundations of the Vedanta system of thoughts - Upanishads, Brahma sutra, and the Bhagavad Gita. So, Vedanta philosophy is relatively new.
There are different schools of thought under the umbrella of Vedanta Philosophy - some dualistic in nature, and some non-dualistic. In this episode, we will discuss Advaita Vedanta Philosophy that was made popular by Adi Shankaracharya some 1200 years ago.
May 27 2020
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Rank #5: Episode 5 - Dharma or Social Duty_Chapter 2.2
When Krishna realizes that Arjuna was not in that mindset to process his first teaching, Samkhya Yoga, he decides to shift track. He speaks about social duty or social dharma. In this episode, we discuss Krishna’s second teaching and give a brief introduction to Karma Yoga.
- Why do we think Krishna’s second teaching was superficial compared to his first teaching?
- A brief introduction to caste-based versus class-based division in Hinduism
- Using Karna’s example, we will discuss how Krishna’s teaching has made some modern scholars uncomfortable.
- Using examples of Krishna’s role as a charioteer and a teacher on the battlefield, we will discuss the importance of being faithful to the position we take.
We have a BIG BONUS in this episode.
For most of this episode, we have discussed two Hindi movies in detail
1) Deewar (1975). Deewar is a groundbreaking cinematic masterpiece that explains the ethical dilemma that one faces when in a morally ambiguous situation. We tell stories of a father and a son, and how both of them face the same moral dilemma, and how they behave differently. And do you remember the famous dialogue of the movie “mere pass maa hain (I have a mother).” What does that ‘mother’ signify? We discuss that too.
2) Border (1997), how a Major reprimanded, rebuked, provoked, and ridiculed an officer, who wanted to leave the battlefield to be with his dying wife. What did that officer do after the punishment? We discuss that.
AND do not miss the real-life story of happy-go-lucky Rob- the janitor; and how he inspired everybody with his selfless act.
Jun 05 2020
Rank #6: Episode 6 - Karma Yoga - Chapter 2.3
What is Karma Yoga? And who is Karma Yogi?
“You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of action,” Krishna tells Arjuna (verse 2.47). With this simple phrase, Krishna sets out the essential principles of the Bhagavad Gita’s doctrine of Karma Yoga.
Karma Yoga is the first step for those who are interested in following a spiritual path. Even if you are not spiritually inclined, Karma Yoga is the Yoga that is applicable and relevant in your daily life too.
Who is Karma Yogi?
Krishna says, “Karma Yogi is someone who is neither elated by good fortune nor depressed by bad. Such a person is free from attachment, fear, and anger.”
In this episode, we discuss
- Story of a hare and a tortoise and what tortoise teaches us to be a Karma Yogi.
- A story of a man who dug the mountain to create a path for the villagers.
- We discuss Karma Kanda using the example of the famous movie Oh My God- OMG
What is Karma Kanda?
In the Vedas, there are three divisions or Kandas – Karma Kanda, Jnana Kanda, and Upasana Kanda. Karma Kanda is the section of the Vedas that lists rituals, ceremonies, and actions, which, when performed, lead one to power and prosperity. On the other hand, Jnana Kanda comprises of philosophical teachings and knowledge. And Upasana Kanda has more to do with Bhakti or devotion.
Krishna says, “When you keep thinking about objects, attachment comes. Attachment breeds desire. Such desires develop a lust for possessions, and from lust, anger arises. From anger comes delusion. Delusion degrades one’s way of thinking, and when thinking is degraded, intelligence is lost. And when the intelligence is destroyed, a person is lost (verses 2.63-64)”
Jun 14 2020
Rank #7: Episode 7 - Advance Karma Yoga - Chapter 3
In this episode, we cover the entire Chapter 3, which is one of the most useful chapters for Karma Yogis (Entrepreneurs, students, business leaders, professionals). In this episode, we cover
- The power of gratitude. Let's learn how ancient people from the Vedic era used yajna as a means to show gratitude to gods.
- How the habit of showing gratitude can help us in both personal and professional lives.
- Get great quotes of Krishna from chapter 3 (We have shared them below)
- Listen to the story of the "most beautiful donkey" in town and how delusional we can get about ourselves
- Listen to the story of the King and his plants, and learn why we should be the best version of ourselves.
Krishna's quotes that we explained in this episode.
“Perform all the actions, completely absorbed in your true goals, and without any expectations, keep fighting! But stay free from the fever of the ego (3.30).”
“Those, firmly established in their faith, keep going without complaining irrespective of the outcome will succeed. But those who indulge in criticizing and complaining about any outcome are utterly deluded. You should know they are dull-witted and are the cause of their sufferings (3.31-3.32)."
“We are conditioned by attraction to the pleasant and aversion to the unpleasant. Do not fall for these tendencies. They are obstacles in your path (3.34).”
"It is far better to struggle following your own path than to succeed in someone else’s path. Nothing is ever lost when following your path, but competition in another’s path breeds fear and insecurity (3.35).”
Jun 21 2020
Rank #8: Episode 8: The concept of Avatar, Knowledge and Meditation - Chapter 4,5,6
In this episode, we will discuss
- Lord Vishnu's ten avatars and its significance as described by a Sadhu in Varanasi. Do you know Krishna does not explain Avatar in the Bhagavad Gita?
- What is Gyana Yoga? What does realized knowledge mean? What happens when one finds his true self?
- How does Krishna's teachings of meditation or Dhyana Yoga aligns with the Patanjali Yoga Sutras? We have written an article that explains Patanjali Yoga Sutras.
Bonus: A Jedi Story that teaches what we can learn from the salt, chicken, and crane (bird) to be successful in life.
Krishna's quotes from the episode:
“A wise person sees action amid inaction and inaction during an action. Their consciousness is unified, and every act is done with complete awareness. Such people who are free from anxiety about results, their actions are burned by the fire of knowledge.”
“Always seek knowledge through submission, inquiry, and devotion. Approach those who have realized the purpose of life. Find a teacher who is willing to impart knowledge to you. Once you find the wisdom, you will never be deluded.”
Jul 07 2020
Rank #9: Episode 9: Bhakti Yoga_Chapter 7-12
In this episode, we are talking about Bhakti Yoga. Bhakti Yoga is a difficult concept for both of us as we do not follow the traditional idea of Bhakti. But we did rigorous research about Bhakti Yoga, read how ancient philosophers interpreted them. Again, at no point, will we be saying, "Hare Rama Hare Krishna or that Krishna is the ONLY TRUTH. There is no other God bigger than him or anything along those lines."
Instead, we will provide the historical significance of the concept of Bhakti in Hinduism, how it started, what influenced the idea, and why the Bhagavad Gita chose such a drastic turn from philosophies of karma yoga, Gyana yoga and Dhyana yoga to Bhakti yoga.
If our stand makes you uncomfortable, we apologize beforehand. Our goal is not to offend anyone. We want to be very open-minded and transparent about how we are approaching the concept of Bhakti and how we understand it and this is our interpretation of it.
- What is Bhakti Yoga? How does Krishna insert the idea of Bhakti?
- What does surrendering mean? We give an example of when Krishna saves Draupadi during attempted Cheerharan incident in Mahabharat
- The link between Universe or Brahman in Upanishad and Krishna himself
- The historical significance of the Bhakti movement in India, and how the modern concept of Bhakti is influenced by Sufism.
- Influence of Mahaprabhu Chaitanya and Meerabai on Bhakti Movement
- Bonus: The story of a dog and the priest to understand the true essence of Bhakti or devotion
- And our conclusion of how Bhakti has different forms.
Jul 12 2020
Rank #10: Episode 10: The Gunas_Chapter 13-18
In this episode, we explain the concept of the Gunas in detail.
- THREE KEY LESSONS from the Bhagavad Gita:
- What is higher knowledge?
- What is God?
- How do you find the inner peace?
- What are the three things that we must renounce for inner peace?
- Different examples of Gunas
- Gunas and Food
- Gunas and Charity
- Gunas and Happiness
- Gunas and Workers
- Gunas and Intelligence
- Krishna's Final Message to Arjuna (and everyone)
"I have now revealed to you this wisdom, which is the deepest mystery. After fully considering what you have heard, you should then act as you see fit.”
- BONUS: We discuss the movie GUIDE and narrate the story of Raju and his journey from a tourist guide to a fake spiritual guide to an enlightened soul.
What are the three Gunas - Sattvic, Rajas and Tamas?
Sadhguru says, "All the qualities of the world have been identified as three basic gunas, tamas, rajas, and sattva. Inertia is called tamas. Activity is called rajas. Transcendence is called sattva.
"There is no physical entity without all these three dimensions. Not a single atom is free of these three dimensions of a certain static nature, of energy, and of vibrance. If these three elements are not there, you cannot hold anything together – it will break up. If it is just sattva, you won't remain here for a moment – you will be gone. If it is just rajas, it’s not going to work. If it’s just tamas, you will be asleep all the time. So, these three qualities are present in everything. It is just a question of to what extent you mix these things."
Jul 21 2020