The Timelessness and the universality of the Gita [Archives:2005/853/Culture]

June 23 2005

[email protected]
College of Education, AL Nadirah, IBB University

Like previous years, Prof. Damodar Thakur recently presented a stimulating and enlightening discourse on the ageless Indian classic 'The Bhagavad Gita at the Indian Embassy Auditorium before a packed audience comprising Indian expatriates from all walks of life drawn from different parts of Yemen. Dr. Thakur began by mentioning the two broad categories of philosophy, namely, the Philosophy of 'And' and the Philosophy of 'either or'. The Philosophy of 'And' is based on the principle of integration, showing mutual respect. But the Philosophy of 'either r' is based on the principle of subordination.

The Philosophy of The Gita is a Philosophy of 'And', which underscores the fact that we should not disintegrate or fragmentize our perspectives but harmonize them. The Gita emphasizes the integration of the apparent 'opposites'. It is an embodiment of a harmonious synthesis of Science and Spirituality, revitalizing and reinvigorating each other. The Gita guides us to 'Shri Vijay', “The Blessed Victory”, which comes not only from the battlefield, but emanates from a peaceful life as well. Thus, The Gita, as a Philosophy of 'And', symbolizes the integration or harmony of different perspectives. It combines many myths – rational and spiritual and lives as a Philosophy of Harmony and not that of isolation.

The second part of his discourse dwelt, at length, on the timelessness and 'the modern ness' of the Gita, of its relevance to us even today, though it was written two thousand years ago. In spite of its being a work of philosophy, it contains a lot of scientific ideas.

Dr. Thakur extensively quoted from the Gita to illustrate its seminal contributions to the modern quantum Physics theory. It is amazing that the Newtonian idea that matter and energy are different had been anticipated by the Gita. The Gita enunciates that the reality of the Universe is not a matter of mere conglomeration of different parts.

The reality can be understood only in terms of interconnectedness or interwoven ness. Hopenhammer an eminent scientist conceded that Gita had highlighted the interconnectedness of things much before Physics explained this.

The Gita's declaration of the ultimate reality as “Everything is in everything else”, namely, everything in the Universe is connected with everything else, is the same theory put forward by modern Physics. It was Einstein's most famous formula E = mc2, which dislodged Newtonian ideas. It demolished the earlier view of Newton that matter and energy are two different things, and affirmed that matter and energy are not two different things but the manifestation of the same. The common division of the world into 'Subject' and 'Object' is no longer adequate. 'Subject' and 'Object' are one and the same. Krishna and Arjuna are ONE though apparent reality may view them to be two.

Talking about the Gita as a forerunner of Managerial Sciences, Dr.Thakur amplified how the Gita has visualized thousands of years ago, the scientific approaches to effective management. A Manager, more than anyone needs to maintain equanimity )- not to be elated by success or frustrated at failure. The Gita guides one precisely towards that equipoise . 'Fear' and 'Anger' are two negative emotions that effective managers should give up. Much the same as the Managerial Sciences today, the Gita stresses the importance of “the Present time”and advises us not to brood over the past (or the future.). Effective and efficient Doers/Managers do not postpone things and are guided by the principle of positivism. The Gita insists on 'attachment' to things and illustrates that effective management can be ensured only when the managers learn the art of getting their colleagues involved in their jobs.

Earlier, Dr.A.K. Sharma, in his introductory speech said that the Gita is such a deep and profound philosophical work that any act of its re- reading unequivocally yields a feeling that neither the book nor the reader is the same. He lauded Dr.Thakur's eclectic approach which subsumes a philosophic, literary, scientific and allegoric approach to the study of the Gita

His Excellency, Mr. Karuppiah, the Indian Ambassador to Yemen, thanked and praised Dr.Thakur for spiritually recharging the batteries of the spectators by his enlightening discourse. Dr.Abraham proposed a vote of thanks.