Happiness and Peace Lessons from Bhagvad Gita

December - 2020
Happiness and Peace Lessons from Bhagvad Gita

                                                                                                                                                                                                                For Members only. For Private Circulation only.

Bombay Chartered Accountants’ Society

Harnessing Talent and Providing Quality Service

Thought Mailer                                                                       Vol. 11 1 No. 05 1 December 2020

CA Hitendra B Gandhi

Happiness and Peace Lessons from Bhagvad Gita


When in school I participated in an elocution topic: “Rich India, Poor People.. ....” We enthusiastically talk of and take pride in India’s Scientific, Cultural, Religious, Spiritual, Lingual, Historic, Social or Psychological treasures that we “had - once upon a time”....; but don’t we need to take time to introspect whether we really have kept or have lost the keys to those Treasure Chests in current times.

One such initiative of opening the drawers of the treasure boxes with which I am associated is Vadodara MSUniversity’s Short Certificate Course “Gita 18-21.” The course strives to bring the wisdom of 18 chapters of Srimad Bhagvad Gita in 21st century situations. In 50 hours spread over 18 days people from Student, Business and Corporate fraternity take part with great enthusiasm and sincerity. (400 participants this year) Expert faculties share their insights from this time tested Manual of Life i.e. Bhagvad Gita.

A Theme is selected every year and all talks have to revolve around that theme only. In yester years 1. Gita and Management Lessons, 2. Gita and Governance, 3. Gita Relationship Management: HR were dealt with and this year in its 4th edition we had Happiness and Peace Lessons from Gita. You are never too young to share and never too old to learn and that is my reason for connecting to this endeavour. Here I would like to share some of the points from my 2019 talk/ presentation.

Every era has its own Problems. But then it brings along with its bundle of Opportunities too. Mindful and Hopeful people in all times try to find solutions to their specific problems drawing inspiration from history and succeed to overcome those challenges. A nation that learns from its past is bound to have better present and a great future.

Bhagvad Gita has four characters namely 1.Dhrutrashtra: who can never see the reality, neither wants to nor is capable of. 2.Sanjay: Can see only what is bygone i.e. Past and express or act then after. 3.Arjuna: He is more advanced than other two and is at a Higher level of Consciousness. He can perceive in Present moment. And 4.Krushna: He can Foresee before the situation/ event occurs. His is most Sublimed Consciousness.

Gita begins with a frame that is lacking in Happiness and Peace. With unrest at mind and anxiety at heart the blind Kaurava King Dhrutrashtra asks Sanjay as to what happened at the Dharmakshetra- Kurukshetra between Mamkas and Pandavas.

And ironically when the dialogue between Arjuna and Sri Krushna is over the book concludes with the Universal formulae of Success Peace and Happiness as aptly put by Sanjaya in 18.78

It is important to note that Sanjay is merely a personal attendant or a chauffeur (Sarthi). Still after listening to Gita he gathers courage to tell to his own Chakravarti King that his side is not going to win. Shree, Vijaya, Vibhuti and Niti are going to be on the side where the Winning Combination of Dhanurdhar Partha and Yogeshwar Krushna is present.

If one wants to be happy; would he better not find it in malls and theatres, in gadgets and parties, in sex and drugs? Why would one look for Lessons of Peace and Happiness in Bhagvad Gita?.... Here are some recent news that support:

University of Bristol UK has started giving Lessons in Happiness to their graduate students! (Times of India 11th May 2019).

Recently Economic Times felicitated 40 Young Entrepreneurs ‘40 under 40’. If we browse through their responses to the two posers to each of the awardees viz. 1.‘Success to me is: ……..’ and 2.‘Best Advice I got..... ....’ (28th August 2019 Economic Times), we would find that most of them, (unknowingly may be) attributed their Success to the Concepts, Constructs and Philosophy propagated by Gita.

4500 people participated in a survey conducted by a non-profit viz. The Happiness Alliance in year 2018, for measuring their personal Happiness Index. (I suggest all readers to go for your own evaluation at www.happycounts.org) In the result it was found that those who considered themselves to be “Spiritual” were happier on many dimensions by upto 10 points on a 0-100 scale. The domains that they have included are 1.Satisfaction with Life, 2.Sense of Purpose, 3.Sense of Belonging in Community, 4.Time Spent in the Beauty of Nature, 5.Trust in Government, 6.Physical Health, 7.Learning something new, 8.Strong Sense of Culture, 9.Sense of Good Relationships, 10.Economic Security, 11.Time Balance & Work Life Balance and 12.Satisfaction with Work.

Even a small country like Bhutan calculates its Happiness Index: GNH Gross National Happiness and not GDP. Its Happiness Index calculations have 4 Pillars, 9 Domains, 33 Indicators and 124 Variables. Nine Domains of GNH that Bhutan uses are: 1.Education, 2.Health, 3.Well Being, 4.Cultural Resilience, 5.Community Vitality, 6.Time Use, 7.Ecological Diversity, 8.Good Governance and 9.Living Standards.

Subject of Happiness and Peace seem so near and dear to the author of Gita that even in short treatise of just 700 verses, the related words like Shanti, Sukha-Dukha, Prasannata, Happiness, Peace, Joy, Bliss etc. occur more than 70 times!

Gita shows the path to Happiness which takes one beyond the limitations of Time, Space and Circumstances. What use of the happiness which is casual and temporary? Happiness that was there in childhood but is lost when one is grown up, or which was there during courtship period but gets evaporated on marriage! No one would wish happiness or peace which is there in USA but not in India or which is there at home but not in office? Changed circumstances change our mind frame and so do our happiness. I will give you an example; say we are enjoying an ice-cream party and suddenly a whatsapp message of a close friend’s accidental death pops up. Would we be enjoying the ice-cream now? Certainly not. Though the ice-cream is same, company is same the place and time are very same but still frame of mind has changed. So the happiness or peace affected by time space or circumstances (Samay, Sthala or Sanjog) is not our search for sure. Gita or any Spiritual path show us our own true self (Swa-roopa) that we are Sat Chit Anand Swaroopa. We are not merely our body or mind but we are Atman. Jiva is Shiva.

We know the story of an old lady looking for the key of her home in the streets under the lamp because the road was brightly lit there, though she was fully aware of the key was lost near her home entrance, but it was dark there! Look for the thing where it is kept and not where it is convenient. Same way Peace or Happiness is not to be explored as outside objects but are to be realised within. You may search what is not with you but in case of Happiness it is you and not something other than you.

Once a devotee was granted a boon and he asked “God, I want Happiness.” God smilingly replied, “Dear Son! Just remove ‘I’ and ‘Want’ from your life and you will be left with Happiness.” Gita teaches to remove those ‘I’ and ‘Want’ from our lives, still doing our karmas.

To be Happy and Peaceful the Gita way I developed my presentation with the acronym for alphabets from the words HAPPY & PEACE, taking a concept each from Srimad Bhagvad Gita and citing relevant chapters/ slokas for each of them.

H for Healthy and Hopeful
A for Anasakti and Acceptance
P for Perspective / Power (Leadership)
P for Partnered i.e. Alliance
Y for Yesability i.e. Positivism

P for Patience
E for Equanimity i.e. Samatva
A for Awakening
C for Care
E for Ethically Engaged in Swakarma

Let us take a bird’s eye-view of Bhagvad Gita wrt only Happiness and Peace and venture to just indicate the addresses of them…

1. In First chapter Arjuna seems to have lost his true perspective. He thinks that safety of the dear ones and avoiding the unnecessary family conflict would bring peace and happiness for all; but his outlook is incorrect. To make him understand and to persuade him to fight is the prime purpose of Gita.

2. Chapter two talks of solace coming out of accepting Shishyatva - studentship of great Guru like Krushna. Philosophy of immortality of soul and getting new body on death like new pair of clothes is unique to be happy. Krushna here preaches to maintain calm in sukh or dukh, profit or loss, victory or defeat (2.38). Chapter-2 shows the pleasure of Sthir-pragya. Disturbed minds can’t have happiness –ashantsya kutah sukham (2.66). Balanced and cool minds and intellect are required for peace & happiness.

3. Chapter 3 shows the sweetness of relationship by talking “parasparam bhavyanta”

4. I incarnate when required ‘sambhavami yuge yuge’ (4.7&8) is a great support guaranteed to good & striving people. ‘paritranay sadhunam’. And Sloka 4.39 gives key to Param Shanti.

5. In Chapter-5 Sloka 5.3 shows happiness of being without Dvesh & Aakanksha (envy & expectation) 5.10 shows happiness & contentment of being indifferent (Alipta) 5.18 shows the path of Samdarshita 5.21 of endless sukh whereas 5.27/28 shows way of being free from desires fear & anger.

6. 6.15 shows path of param shanti. 6.17 alerts us to go for moderate life-style yuktahar vihar and thereby leads to aatyantika sukh & 6.27 to uttam (best) sukh. 6.28 talks of the bliss coming from brahmasansparsh. It is a great consolation that your efforts are not wasted but are duly rewarded by giving you the gift of next birth to well to do & cultured parents suchishrimant

7. Chapter-7 talks of Partnering, Patience, Care and of being Ethically engaged as in our acronym. 7.21 give you freedom of choice wrt the way of worship.

8. 8.15 talks of abode of unhappiness {dukhalayam} whereas 8.24/25 shows us Uttarayan Gati & Liberation- Mukti.

9. Chapter 9 grants privillage of being Rajputra (a Prince), worry free way of life by assuring Yog-kshema and promises permanent peace (9.31)

10. Chapter 10 gives the satisfaction of knowing the sparkling Vibhuties and their significance.

11. 11th chapter gifts the rarest of the rare i.e. Vishva-roopa darshan. Later part of the chapter explains real secrets of relationship & friendship. Krushna is friend philosopher and guide, a mentor and a relative to Arjuna. This chapter give tips as to how to develop and maintain relations & friendship and how to avoid mistakes in relations that may cause one to be sorry afterwards.

12. Chapter 12 Bhaktiyog narrates the happiness and Peace obtained by Sharanagati i.e. Surrender. In sloka 12.15 it teaches to be Santustha (satisfied) & in 12.18 having same balanced mental frame of mind in sukh or dukh or with friend or foe. Sloka 12.19 indicates that one who is homeless and yet unpertubbed (aniket sthirmati) is dearer to Lord and thus talks of equanimity.

13. Chapter 13 explains Gyan, Prakruti & Purush etc. but more importantly it in 13.22 enlists different roles of God in one’s life (upadrasta, anumanta ch bharta bhokta maheshwar) which indicate the level of one’s development.

14. Chapter 14 viz. Gunatraya Vibhag Yog in details explains three qualities of Satva Rajas & Tamas and tells that one who treads on the path of Satva does not have to be upset (na vyathanti 14.2) and the path of tamas leads surely to unhappiness (14.16) and therefore advises to go beyond & become Gunatita (14.24)

15. Chapter 15 shows the highway of becoming Purshottam. By opening the treasure chests of the secrets (guhyatamam shashtra) it brings the experience of fulfilment. (15.20 krutakrutyasya bharata). In Slokas 15.7 & 15.15 by telling us mamaivansho and hrudisannivisto Gita brings God to every living being and liberates him from being limited to heaven of temples. Great concept of Indwelling God brings pride & happiness of being my man and being part of the pure & supreme whole.

16. While enlisting the Daivi-Sampatti i.e.Divine Qualities, Chapter-16 includes Shanti as one of them. Led by the engine of Abhayam- Fear-lessness all these qualities if curated dedicatedly bring happiness and enlightenment in the lives of Sadhakas.

17. Chapter 17 named Shrdhdhatraya Vibhag Yog by narrating at length 3 types of Satvik Rajasik and Tamasik Food shows surest way to Physical Health which is a precondition for happiness. Sloka 17.16 hands over the key to mental peace.

18. Last chapter 18th named Moksha Sanyas Yog narrates (18.36 to 39) three types of happiness. 18.63 talks of Ultimate/supreme peace (Param Sahnti). 18.63 bestows freedom of will by telling yathechhasi tatha kuru and in the last sloka 18.78 as said before; Sarthi Sanjay reveals the winning combination of Arjuna & Krushna.

All the thinkers, writers, commentators and worshippers of Gita as have experienced and shared that whenever they have approached Gita with all sincerity and humility they have found newer meanings and solutions to their problems.

I would close with just one wish and prayer that what is available at Vadodara in “Gita 18-21” course may be brought to Mumbai...



About: CA Hitendra B Gandhi,

Shri Hitendra B. Gandhi is a practicing Chartered Accountant since 1980. He has done courses in Public Speaking, Journalism, Film Making, NLP and One year Residential Course in Comparative Religions and World Philosophy. Mr. Gandhi is associated with many Edutainment programmes in India and abroad. He talks on Professional Cultural and Management related Subjects making interesting with Film Excerpts, Appropriate Games & Activities, Role-Plays, Skits and What If Situations.

He can be contacted at : hitugandhi@gmail.com


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