Today’s blog is written by Greg Marzullo.
Massacres by the Syrian government have killed thousands.
A young man in Colorado goes berserk and guns down a movie theater full of people.
Here in D.C., a yoga teacher and his boyfriend were viciously assaulted over the weekend. (to attend a donation based yoga class to benefit Michael Joel Hall at extendYoga, click here)
At every turn, with every click of a remote or a mouse, we’re confronted with the insanities of humanity run amok. Violence, degradation and breathtaking suffering are our daily bread, leaving us to wonder what any of us can possibly do in the wake of such overwhelming odds.
The answer is simple, yet nonetheless daunting: Transform yourself.
The Bhagavad Gita, the Song of the Lord, is one of the great spiritual classics of the world, and although the actual time of composition varies between the sixth and second centuries B.C.E., the wisdom contained within its verses have stood the test of time. Ranging in content from impermanence to the true nature of the transcendent Self, the Gita has been a guidebook for yogis, saints and everyday people trying to lead a better life.
Set against the backdrop on an impending epic battle between two sides of a large family, the Gita is a conversation between the mortal warrior Arjuna and his charioteer Lord Krishna. As Arjuna stands on the battlefield staring across enemy lines, he sees his foes and recognizes them as friends, cousins and well-loved uncles. Despairing at having to slay kith and kin and fearful of incurring great sin, he throws down his bow and says, “I will not do this thing.”
It’s at this point that Krishna leans down and says (if he were to speak in 21st-century idiom), “Get your ass up and fight.”
It’s at this point that Krishna delivers the famous lines of the text, which are meant to help all peoples overcome the war of the mind and reach enlightenment. This is not just some far-fetched notion meant only for holy people meditating atop the mountains; the Gita is specifically designed to assist those engaged in the rigors of the real world.
Mohandas K. Gandhi lived his life by this book, and although there is some debate as to whether or not the Gita is in favor of war, the great pacifist said to try living your life by this book and see if you can harm anyone. In some of the most moving passages, Krishna tells Arjuna to see God in all creatures, from a priest to a cow.
Recognizing the divine in all beings is so obviously needed in today’s world. Who could say a cruel word to God? Who could raise a fist or an assault weapon to that which is Pure Love?
In order to find peace and change the world, we must drink deeply from the wellspring of transcendent consciousness that bubbles up within each one of us. The Gita in all its profound wisdom is like a divining rod held in our trembling hands. If we just become still and listen, the rod begins to twitch and tremble, leading us eventually to that font of wisdom that never runs dry.
You are the rod and the fountain. Change yourself, change the world.
Greg Marzullo is teaching a third installment of his workshop, Yoga of the Revolution on Sunday, August 5th at extendYoga. To read more and sign up please click here.