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Philosophy

3 Things You May Not Know About the Bhagavad Gita

For starters, that battle wasn’t a metaphor.

We’re counting down to the launch of our new four-week workshop, Introduction to the Bhagavad Gita, led by yoga teacher and author Anusha Wijeyakumar. (Learn more and join us for the first session on April 5!

YJ sat down with Anusha to ask her what surprises students when she leads trainings. Here, she shares three illuminating teachings that will expand your knowledge of this sacred text.

Introduction to the Bhagavad Gita with Anusha Wijeyakumar
Join Anusha for a four-week virtual workshop that will deepen your practice and understanding of yoga philosophy. Learn more here.

That battle? It isn’t a metaphor

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 dharma 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 Kurukshetra War, 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.

If you want to learn more, I hope you’ll join me for Introduction to the Bhagavad Gita, my upcoming four-week workshop that will deepen you understanding of yoga philosophy through an intersectional lens. The workshop is accessible and open to all. Join today!

Meet Your Teacher 

Anusha Wijeyakumar

Anusha Wijeyakumar is a motivational speaker on the science of mindfulness and meditation. She is the Wellness Consultant for Hoag Hospital in Orange County, California, where she is actively engaged in championing mindfulness and meditation practices for maternal mental health programs, early risk assessment for breast & ovarian cancer prevention programs and breast cancer survivorship programs. Anusha is one of the first people to create a meditation program to be used in clinical research at Hoag Hospital.

Anusha has over 15 years of international senior management experience working for Fortune 50, 100 and 500 global corporations, charitable organizations & private companies in three continents. She holds a BA, MA, Diploma in Mentoring, Certified Professional Life Coach qualification, Registered Yoga Teacher/RYT with Yoga Alliance and is a Meditation Practitioner. Anusha leads yoga and meditation workshops across the USA and internationally and is part of the teaching faculty for a number of Yoga Alliance certified Yoga Teacher Training Courses across Southern California.

Health and social justice is at the heart of all that Anusha is involved with. Anusha is on the Board of Directors for the non-profit MOMS Orange County and is very engaged in working with inner city communities to bring the power of yoga for a healthy mind, body and spirit into these localities to nurture and empower change from within. Anusha recently co-founded a movement Womxn of Color + Wellness @wocandwellness, which is focused on decolonizing wellness and making yoga and wellness more equitable, accessible, diverse and inclusive.

For more, visit shantiwithin.com and on Instagram.