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The Bhagavad Gita takes place on a battlefield: Lord Krishna and the famed warrior Arjuna dialogue about our duty to follow the divine purpose laid out for every being. For Arjuna, that was the action of defeating his evil cousins in war.
Often, when the text gets taught in the context of yoga studios, teachers try to allegorize the story, translating it into a mythical battle of our spiritual selves.
But here’s what they get wrong: The battle, between two dynasties competing for a kingdom, was real! It took place in modern-day Delhi, then called Kurukshetra, in 3000 BC. In its retelling of the , the Gita explores the concepts of dharma, karma, and reincarnation—which are philosophies of Hinduism that we’ll be exploring in my workshop in a way that’s accessible to all.
It outlines different ages in human civilization—and where we are right now
In the Gita, the end of the battle marks the start of the Kali Yuga, or Age of Struggle, an era that we’re currently still inhabiting. In my upcoming workshop, we’ll talk more about the various ages and what it means for the time we’re living in now.
The text is a Hindu scripture
While the Gita is widely celebrated and has inspired countless artists around the world, the text itself is a seminal holy scripture for Sanatana Dharma more commonly known as Hinduism, a faith and sacred way of life with more than 1.25 billion followers.
Often, when students discover this, they ask whether they can study or incorporate the Gita’s teachings in their life and practice if they aren’t Hindu. The answer is an emphatic yes!
However, when we’re practicing yoga or studying sacred texts, we can learn more about the culture of Hinduism, or Sanatana Dharma, in order to honor and respect yoga’s roots.