APRIL 2015
Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida


Bhagvad Gita: The Complete Mindbody Manual



The Bhagvad Gita has been regarded throughout history as one of the foremost authorities on mindbody management. For more than 5,000 years, its timeless and universal wisdom has guided generations of people toward maximum purpose and enjoyment in life while minimizing the effects of stress and suffering commonly encountered in human existence.

The Gita is a narrative describing the guidance provided by Revered Krishna to warrior Arjun as he becomes ambivalent about fighting a battle against his own cousins. The Gita is contained within the epic Mahabharat. Each of Gita's 18 chapters illustrates mindbody principals through a total of 700 verses with each verse being composed of 32 syllables. The Gita is an original yoga manual in poetry form. The chapters are divided into three parts, with the first six focused on Karma Yog (yoga of selfless action), the next six on Bhakti Yog (yoga of selfless devotion) and the last 6 on Gnyana Yog, (yoga of knowledge of the true Self). This setup of the Gita's story plot is crucial for understanding the principles by which the human mindbody operates in every second of our day. 

The first chapter of the Gita begins with a description about the two opposing warriors and their state of mind immediately preceding the start of the battle. Whereas Duryodhana's mind is singularly blinded by his greed for wealth and power, Arjun's mind is in a state of ambivalence debating, "Is all this bloodshed really necessary?"

Here we are given the first introduction to the human mindbody and its nature. In Sanskrit language, mindbody is called Mann (u is pronounced as in the word fun). Each leader of the warring clan is in a different state of mindbody. This gives us a unique look at the first principle of the nature of our mindbody. The first principle is the recognition of the munn as an entity intimately and inseparably operating our every thought, emotion and action. As such it is constantly thinking thoughts. When there is sensory input from outside, it is reacting to the input and when there's nothing to feed its activity from outside, it is generating its own fantastic patterns of thoughts based on previous memories and experiences. Hence, the philosophy of Gita acknowledges the mind and body as singularly behaving entity which bridges our thoughts to our actions. Coincidentally, this is exactly what the Buddha experienced in his spiritual journey which he later revealed as "We are the sum product of what we have thought of before."

This first chapter also provides us with the second principle of the human mindbody.  The second principle teaches us that the mindbody is actually an interplay among four different faculties. By setting the stage for war between Arjun and Duryodhana, the Gita helps us in dissecting the human thought process into its four distinct components: Munn, Buddhi, Ahankar and Chitta. The first two will be elaborated here while the other two will be examined later.

Whereas one can follow every whim of their mind (munn) like Duryodhana, which will result in a never-ending goose-chase driven by the mind's unlimited capacity for desires, one can also attempt to filter what the endless munn is thinking using their buddhi, as in the case of Arjun. One can clearly see that Duryodhana's blind desires hold the potential to result in wanton and selfish pursuits that invite suffering to oneself and others around him. In contrast, Arjun's buddhi has him debating the whole exercise of war and its purpose and the value of the outcome. He is startled to consider the death of all those whom he considers his own, namely his kin-folks and his own guru, who actually taught him how to fight a war.

This exercise of weighing in the 'likely impact of personal decisions on others' has been and is being constantly performed in the mindbody of every human being that ever lived. The question is, "How do you choose the right action in a given situation?" Do you succumb to your emotions as Arjun did? This is the question posed in the first chapter of The Gita. In the next article, we will start examining the answer given by Revered Krishna.

Maulik K. Trivedi M.D. is board-certified in general adult psychiatry, and child and adolescent psychiatry. He specializes in the MindBody approach to behavioral health at Florida Medical Clinic and can be reached at (813) 973-1304.Krista Miles, MA, is a psychotherapist and a yoga instructor on the Mindbody Integrated team.

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