The Shrimad Bhagwad Geeta In Our Schools?

Should we be advocating the teaching of the Shrimad Bhagwad Geeta in our schools? I ask this question of myself, and that too as a Bill is being raised in our parliament, to this effect. So far as I am aware, this is a private member’s bill {do drop a comment if that is not so, will edit article}. This bill is coming at a time when a combination of factors is driving interest in reading this code-book of life, judging from posts on Social Media. While it was always a central theme of our life, movies as well as our polity, it has off late come centre stage, which is a great and welcome development.

MY EXPERIENCE WITH THIS HOLY BOOK
My first experience  was reading an Amar Chitra Katha on this topic at age 9-10 or thereabouts; later, at age 12-13, I started reading The Shrimad Bhagwad Geeta. I managed to read maybe a few chapters, before moving. Time passed till around 2014, when I again found an interest in this code of life. Since then, I have read it daily, four pages a day, and tend to restart after reading it completely. I have two versions at home – one, Geeta Press; a second one from Bhaktivedant Book Trust which I use for reference purposes. In addition, I refer one or two internet sites daily. I also send two shlok daily to my close family and select friends {who ask for the same}.

MY TAKE
The above preamble was essential, not to toot my horn, but to establish that not only do I respect The Shrimad Bhagwad Geeta, but have a deep reverence for it. I request people not to read too much into my opinion on this matter; I am speaking up as I believe this should be debated, that my opinion be placed before my friends. This post will be uploaded on FB marked Friends only, and on my blog. No other promotion will be attempted on this. My opinion on this matter is on two fronts -one minor, one major. Both are basis my understanding, and my opinion; I do not lay claim to being an expert. If any other explanation is present, I am open to understanding it.

First of all, I would like to call attention to the following Shlok from The Shrimad Bhagwad Geeta – Shlok 67 & 68 from Chapter 18:
इदं ते नातपस्काय नाभक्ताय कदाचन |
चाशुश्रूषवे वाच्यं मां योऽभ्यसूयति || 67||

“This instruction should never be explained to those who are not austere or to those who are not devoted. It should also not be spoken to those who are averse to listening (to spiritual topics), and especially not to those who are envious of me. Source : http://www.holy-bhagavad-gita.org/chapter/18/verse/67”

इदं परमं गुह्यं मद्भक्तेष्वभिधास्यति |
भक्तिं मयि परां कृत्वा मामेवैष्यत्यसंशय: || 68||
“Those, who teach this most confidential knowledge amongst my devotees, perform the greatest act of love. They will come to me without doubt.”

Another site has this to say of 16-67: “You should never disclose this science to one devoid of austerities, nor to one who is not devoted, nor to one adverse to spiritual advancement and never anyone who is envious of me” Source : http://www.bhagavad-gita.org/Gita/verse-18-63.html. This second site also has commentaries from Shridhar Swami, Madhavacarya, Ramanuj, Kesav Kashmiri; they seem to be in general agreement.

For further evidence, I looked towards my two physical copies; being a daily reader, they are always handy and near to me. The Geeta Press version says of Shlok 18-67 “Tujhe yeh Geetaroop rahasmay updesh kisi bhi kaal mein naa toh taprahit manushya se kehenaa chaahiye, na bhakti-rahit se, aur na binaa sunneki ichchaawaale se hee kehenaa chaahiye; tathaa joh mujhme doshdrushti rakhtaa hai usse toh kabhi bhi nahi kehenaa chaahiye” Bhaktivedant Trust version states  “Yeh Guhyadnyaan unko kabhi bhi naa bataayaa jaaye jo naa toh saiyami hain, na eknishthh, na Bhakti mein rat hain, na hi use joh mujhse dvesh kartaa ho

MY ANALYSIS
I have used several sources which I regularly refer to, and given the reproduction of the relevant material with source links or specific book references. All of these state the same thing, which I interpret after years of reading them, that The Shrimad Bhagwad Geeta is not to be told to anyone who is not a Bhakt, or who is not willing to listen, or who is not at least trying to do some tapashcharya as given in the various Vedic texts. The second verse, 18-68, clearly states that one who preaches this among devotees is blessed. Thus, teaching it in schools does not seem to be warranted by the above {for ex, there will certainly be some students who do not want to listen}, or at the very least, needs a much closer examination by people with real knowledge. {I do not lay claim to such knowledge}. If any reader has a better idea, for I am still a learner, please update me, am willing to learn & upgrade.

The two together are the reason why, despite being a regular early morning reader of 4 pages of The Shrimad Bhagwad Geeta & 2 pages of one Upanishad {have read a total of 9 so far} for 2+  years, I have never discussed this openly. That is also why I circulate the morning Shlok only on request, that too only  among people I know personally and am in daily touch with, or are my family. Even in my family, I started only after receiving a request, or an expression of interest.

The Second reason – we are a Multi-Religious nation, and teaching a book associated with one Religion does not seem to be the way to go…

These are my two cents on this topic, for what they are worth!

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