Gita Jayanti: Celebrating the Birth of the Bhagavad Gita
The Bhagavad Gita is considered the most important and influential Hindu scripture for its philosophical, practical, political, psychological, and spiritual value. Bhagavad Gita Jayanti, or simply Gita Jayanti, marks the birth of this holy book. According to the traditional Hindu calendar, Gita Jayanthi falls on the Ekadashi day of Shukla Paksha, or the bright half of the Margashirsha month (November-December).
The Birth of the Gita and Origin of Gita Jayanti
Gita Jayanti is an annual celebration to commemorate the day when Lord Krishna rendered his philosophical teachings - immortalized in the epic Mahabharata - to prince Arjuna on the first day of the 18-day battle of Kurukshetra. When prince Arjuna refused to fight against his cousins, the Kauravas in the battle, Lord Krishna expounded the truth of life and the philosophy of Karma and Dharma to him, thereby giving birth to one of the world's greatest scriptures: the Gita.
The Bhagavad Gita is not just an ancient scripture but also serves as an essential guide to better living, conducting business, and communicating to the modern world. The greatest quality of Bhagavad Gita is that it prompts an individual to think, to make a fair and right decision, and to look at life differently and refreshingly without surrendering one's identity. The Gita has been addressing contemporary issues and solving for everyday problems of humanity for millennia.
Kurukshetra, the Birthplace
This Hindu holiday is celebrated with great devotion and dedication, across the country and around the world, especially in the city of Kurukshetra, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh (UP), where the famous epic battle of the Mahabharata took place. This place is sacred not only for the battle and the birthplace of the Gita but also because it is the place where the famous sage Manu wrote the Manusmriti and where the Rig and Sama Vedas were composed. Divine personalities like Lord Krishna, Gautama Buddha, and the Sikh Gurus' visit also consecrated this place.
Celebrations in Kurukshetra
The day is observed with the reading of the Bhagavad Gita, followed by discussions and seminars by eminent scholars and Hindu priests to throw light upon the various facets of the holy book and its perennial influence on humankind for generations. Hindu temples, especially those dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Lord Krishna, conduct special prayers and pujas on this day. Devotees and pilgrims from all over India gather in Kurukshetra to take part in the ritual bath in the hallowed water of the sacred ponds - Sannihit Sarovar and Brahm Sarovar. A fair is also organized that lasts for about a week and the people participate in prayer recitals, Gita reading, bhajans, aartis, dance, dramas, etc. Over the years, the fair known as Gita Jayanti Samaroh has gained immense popularity, and a large number of tourists visit Kurukshetra during the event to participate in this sacred gathering.
Celebrations by ISKCON
At the temples of ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) across the globe, Geeta Jayanthi is celebrated with special offerings to Lord Krishna. Mass recital of the Bhagavad Gita is performed throughout the day. Gita Jayanti is also celebrated as Mokshada Ekadashi. On this day, devotees observe fast and on Dwadashi (or 12th Day) fast is broken by taking a ritual bath and performing Krishna Puja.
By Subhamoy Das