Richard (now Radhanath Swami) studied the Bhagavad Gita sitting under the very banyan tree at Kurukshetra where Krishna originally spoke to Arjuna. Richard had read so many spiritual books but nothing so far had struck to him as so highly practical. In the world of dangers, temptations and fear, Richard found immense solace and direction in the immortal words of Lord Krishna. The Gita became Richard’s handbook.
Forty years later, the Gita continues to be Radhanath Swami’s handbook. In many universities and congregation gatherings, Radhanath Swami gives discourses on the Gita, and presents how the teachings of the Gita are beyond historical and sectarian boundaries.
Radhanath Swami however explains that when studying the Bhagavad Gita we need to have a keen and a receptive heart; we should be willing to take in Krishna’s loving message for all of us. We have to be desperate. Radhanath Swami notes that in India it is fashionable to go to spiritual discourses but in most cases it is pious entertainment and there is no real transformation of the heart. However real benefit from the Bhagavad Gita is obtained if we tune in our consciousness to grasp every word of what Krishna was speaking to Arjuna.
Ever since Charles Wilkins first translated Bhagavad- gita into English in 1785, there have been literally hundreds of translations. Until Srila Prabhupada released his Bhagavad-gita As It Is, however, not one Westerner had become a devotee of Krishna. And this is quite strange, since Lord Krishna makes it completely clear in the Gita that becoming His devotee is life’s goal: “Always think of Me and become My devotee. Worship Me and offer your homage unto Me. Thus you will come to Me without fail. I promise you this because you are My very dear friend” (Bg. 18.65).
According to Bhagavad-gita, spiritual truths reach the most sincere students by a descending process, from the scriptures themselves, the great sages, and through a genuine and qualified spiritual teacher, who guides one on the path of devotion to God. Thus the real import of the Bhagavad-gita is not to be had by incessant wrangling and a dazzling display of philosophical hermeneutics, but by surrendering to Krishna and His pure representatives in this world.
Radhanath Swami explains that the Bhagavad Gita assumes significance in the life of every spiritual aspirant; each one of us will be tested time and again and it will certainly appear that we are at the crossroads of our lives. We will be faced with the challenge of choosing a course of action or a decision to be taken can confuse us like Arjuna’s bewilderment. Thus Bhagavad Gita is a classic literature with which every individual can relate to. Krishna’s discourse to Arjuna helps us understand the way this world works, the power of the three modes that control all our lives and the greatest benediction that awaits us if we surrender to God and repose our love and trust in Him.
Richard was a keen student of the Bhagavad Gita. Radhanath Swami too is a keen student and more importantly he inspires thousands to be keen students of this immortal ‘song of God’.