18 Astonishing Life Lessons From The Bhagavad Gita
Last Updated on March 3, 2023
The Bhagavad Gita, also known as the “Song of God”, is a 700-verse-long scripture in the Mahabharata.
I have read Bhagavad Gita recently, and I think it is one of the best books I have ever read.
It is the book that can give you all the answers you ever wanted to know.
It has every solution to real-life problems, or you can say it is a book that will tell you about a higher purpose in life.
The Bhagavad Gita is straightforward to understand and provides you with a summary of Vedic philosophies. Each chapter of the Srimad Bhagavad Gita teaches us many life lessons that we can apply in our lives.
The Bhagavad Gita is like a buffet with so many options. Dharma is in every dish, regardless of how difficult or easy it is to eat. What I mean is, by reading these lessons from the Gita, you will understand that no matter what Krishna advised Arjuna, every piece of advice was deeply rooted in the quality of righteousness, or Dharma.
The Gita talks about Bhakti, yoga, karma, etc, which are the pillars of a great human life. Hence, I have shared all the life lessons from the holy Bhagavad Gita and explained what does the Bhagavad Gita teach in simplest way.
So without any further ado, let’s get started.
18 Life Lessons From The 18 Chapters Of The Bhagavad Gita
(Lesson #1) Bhagavad Gita Chapter 1: The War Within
In this chapter, Sanjay tells Dhritrashtra (King of Hastinapur) because Dhritrashtra asks him, “After gathering on the holy field of Kurukshetra and desiring to fight, what did my sons and the sons of Pandu do?”
From this statement, we understand Dhritrashtra was scared as he thought that the dharma kshetra, i.e., Kurukshetra, could influence the minds of his sons.
We also sometimes want to know everything about how our future will be. What if we fail, or what if we lose everything? But the truth is, it is just a barrier to your mind as it detaches you from being in the present.
In this chapter, we see Duryodhana was praising the Pandavas army. Still, the truth was he was overconfident that he will win the war because he had Bhishma and many other extraordinary warriors.
It teaches us a life lesson: being overconfident in your abilities is just false gratification and brings us away from our true potential.
So you should never let yourself be attracted to sense gratifications. After this, Arjuna tells Krishna to take his chariot in the middle of both armies to see with whom he has to fight. This teaches us that we should know our fields and the competitors in that specific field.
Arjuna was scared and didn’t want to fight with his relatives and gurus because he saw no satisfaction in killing his brothers and many beloved presents in the war.
We all go through this dilemma in our lives when we want to give up on our actions because we see faults in them, and then we start to give senseless reasons why we are giving up.
(Lesson #2) Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2: The Yoga Of Knowledge
In this chapter, Arjuna tells Krishna about his unwillingness to fight in the war.
I sometimes think that it would be much better if I have a guru in my life, which imparts me the knowledge I lack and shows me the right path. But when everything is about money, I prefer books or some good videos to learn what I do not know.
Arjuna asks Sri Krishna to be his guru to show him the right path. So Sri Krishna starts by teaching Arjuna about the immortal soul that resides in the body, and that only the body dies, not the soul. Why lament when only the body gets destroyed and not the soul. Why fear death when it is the ultimate truth that we are bound to be dead one day.
Sri Krishna teaches that the wise lament neither for the dead nor the living. They do their duties in all circumstances without being affected by results.
We learn that all the sensations of the body are temporary and changes with time, like seasons. The perception of happiness and sadness is only because of the contact between sense and sense objects. We should learn to tolerate them without being disturbed.
This helps us to be focused and steady. We also learn that we should never say NO to opportunities because not doing your duty and running from it is a sin.
In this chapter, Sri Krishna also teaches Arjuna the Yoga of Intellect. He says that a person whose minds are always attached to sense gratifications always try to earn more and remains in the thoughts of increasing their material possessions and never understands their true nature.
As their minds are bewildered by the sense of objects, they are scared of death as they lose everything they strived for.
A wise man always remains in the self and does not strive much for material gains in his/her life. He is aware that he only has the right to perform his duties but not on the fruits. Being equipoised( treating them in the same way) with success and failure and doing your duties without attachment to work, place of work, and people is called Yog.
I can tell you that if you perform your actions or choose your career by keeping in mind a higher purpose or a thought to help the inferior instead of getting a higher salary you will work better and you will have a purpose in your life. Because those who think they enjoy the fruits of actions are unaware of the knowledge because the one who truly knows offers everything to God like doing charity or feeding the needy.
This can be achieved only by meditation and not by just learning or reading.
There is a verse in this chapter that some people do not understand, What all beings consider as the day is the night of ignorance for the wise, and what all creatures see as night is the day for a wise sage.
Meaning: The person who always equates success in monetary terms of how much material possessions a man possesses is darkness or “night” for the wise, but the one who is not ignorant and refrains himself from the sense of objects or pleasures is hence knower of the “day”.
Finally, this chapter teaches us that we should perform our duties without being attached to the fruits of our actions as we can live in peace by this.
(Lesson #3) Bhagavad Gita Chapter 3: Karma Yog or The Yoga of action
In this chapter, Sri Krishna teaches us that we are bound to do work and can’t remain without action, even for a second. Arjuna was also confused because Krishna tells in the second chapter that knowledge is superior to action, so why does he want him to fight?
So Krishna says that freedom from the karmic reactions, or you can say the duality is not achievable by only abstaining from work or action.
In this chapter, we learn that some people are suited for the first path which is the path of knowledge, and others are suited for the path of action.
Performing the right actions is necessary because it creates an example for ordinary people to follow.
Krishna is God, and he engaged in action though he needs nothing. If he had renunciate it, the ordinary people would follow that action, as the actions performed by the “Great men” set a standard for ordinary ones.
We also learn that It is better to perform your duty without thinking that you are the doer because it is egocentric thought and gives birth to arrogance.
He says that people should understand that your gunas(nature) act upon your gunas, and so it is better to live your own life imperfectly than to live others’ life perfectly.
Lord Sri Krishna also states that the wise should not take any action that leads to the downfall of the ignorant ones.
The ignorant should also not be asked to leave all their duties by imparting to them superior teachings that they are not qualified to understand, as they will misinterpret the real meaning of the knowledge.
The wise should not force their thoughts on ignorant people by saying you are the soul, not the body, and you should leave your karma and do Yagya or something, but he should motivate them to do the actions and rise above the false gratification of senses.
You should also not misinterpret the things written in this blog because Sri Krishna didn’t tell you to stop consuming what is necessary and practice unattachment.
Arjuna also asks Krishna why people perform evil actions. Sri Krishna answers it by saying that the real reason behind it is lust alone. When the desire is not fulfilled, it gives birth to anger, and anger deludes the intellect, but when it is fulfilled, it gives birth to greed, and one commits sin.
So we should bring our senses into our control and slay this enemy called lust or desire.
(Lesson #4) Bhagavad Gita Chapter 4: The Yoga Of Renunciation of Action Through Knowledge
In this chapter, Krishna teaches an important life lesson, that one or the other way, we pray and bow to the same lord. The Lord reciprocates in different ways to those who surrender to him. By this, he means that everyone directly or indirectly follows the same path. The atheists who think there is no God meet him in the form of law or karma. Well, this chapter mostly talks about which action is right and which is wrong.
So Krishna clarifies it by saying that those who sees inaction in action and action in inaction are truly wise among humans. So what inaction in action means?
Well, the simple answer to it will be if you do your work without being attached to the results of your actions, such as failure or success, and without being in the thought of outcomes. However, you will be engaged in actions you will not be entangled by the karmic reactions because you had no motive for personal enjoyment and serving God or others.
So what is action in inaction?
This means that some people take their duties as a burden and give up on them. They do nothing but think about the sense of objects and appear inactive. Those people become lethargic and do sinful actions.
Sri Krishna also states that if anybody who has committed the most disgusting sins but with his whole heart truly surrenders to the lord, he can pass the ocean of material existence with divine knowledge.
He also states that the person who has no faith and only doubts sees a downfall because there is no happiness for the skeptical souls.
This can be understood by a simple example; Say you went to a barbershop to get yourself a haircut. But you are in the thought, what if he cuts off your ears or kills you or what if he ruins my hairstyle?
You have to keep faith in him, or you will doubt him, and the result will be much worse. So by this, you can understand how important faith is for a happy life.
So in this chapter, we learn that actions performed as a service to God do not bind us, but the actions performed to achieve more material possessions bind us.
(Lesson #5) Bhagavad Gita Chapter 5: The Yoga Of Renunciation
In this chapter, Arjuna asks which is better between a person who renounced his family and worldly attachment to meditate upon the lord and the one who performs his duty as a service without attaching himself to the fruits of action. Krishna answers it by saying that both lead us to the same path, but the second one(selfless action and service) is better.
A person who differentiates between the two paths, i.e. renouncing actions and performing duties selflessly is ignorant.
A person who performs his duty with his mind always absorbed in god is wise. They abandon all attachments and remain away from sins, just as the lotus remains untouched by water.
Ignorance of self is the reason why some people act badly. The wise regard all men as equal because he knows that the self is the same in everyone; only the outer body is different.
The self-aware who has reached self-realization lives his life without fear, anger, or greed. He lives happily being absorbed in God-consciousness.
(Lesson #6) Bhagavad Gita Chapter 6: The Yoga Of Meditation
This chapter is about meditation and how important it is for your spiritual journey. Reading books and old scriptures will increase your knowledge, but for your overall growth, meditation is vital.
There are many benefits of meditation, but only if you do it consistently.
In this chapter, Krishna urges us to leave the desire for material possession and pleasure and do meditation for internal growth and rise above this material existence.
Sri Krishna says that you can control anything or everything, but only the mind is difficult to control.
He tells if your mind wanders around, one should bring it back to peace and calmness and meditate upon the lord. When a devotee with his consistent meditation reaches a state called “Samadhi”, he enjoys eternal bliss. Arjuna also asks, what if a person who tried to go on this path but due to loss of motivation or consistency cannot reach the goal?
Krishna answers it by saying that one who strives for God’s realization never overcomes by any evil. And his spiritual merit of striving for god realization will go with him in future lives so that he can start from where he had left.
This chapter concludes with a declaration that a yogi’s status is higher than a seeker and learner.
(Lesson #7) Bhagavad Gita Chapter 7: Wisdom From Realization
From this chapter of Gita, we learn that Meditating upon God is important. We can only know God by knowledge combined with meditation which is achievable by deep meditations. Sri Krishna also says that he is the cause of the universe. He is all-pervading.
Now the question arises if Lord is all-pervading what makes us away from him?
The answer to this question is straightforward, It is because of Maya.
So what is Maya?
Maya consists of three Gunas – Satwa guna, rajo guna, tamas guna. In this chapter, the Bhagavad Gita teaches us that evil actions are a consequence of ignorance which is because of delusive Maya. The most important thing this chapter states is that the highest goal of any soul is to unite with god with the help of self-knowledge.
(Lesson #8) Bhagavad Gita Chapter 8: Brahma Yoga
This chapter mainly answers only one question: where does the soul go after death, and how we can attain the lord after death? Sri Krishna answers it simply by saying that if the soul remembers the lord at the time of death, he attains him.
It is not very easy because we do not know our time of death; secondly, due to the pain, we suffer before our death, we cannot remember him; third, we are so occupied with our future that we do not think about the lord.
So the question arises how we can remember him at the time of death? Sri Krishna advised us to meditate upon him consistently and remember him all the time by practice.
He advises us to remember him because if we do at the time of death, we reach his abode without going through this infinite life cycle.
The best path for liberation is to meditate and do good actions because that’s the better path you can take to know the only lord.
(Lesson #9) Bhagavad Gita Chapter 9: The Royal Path
This chapter of Gita Sri Krishna teaches us that bhakti or devotion to the lord is the easiest path to attain him.
It is easier than performing rituals in the name of the lord.
He tells Arjuna that though he is standing in front of him, he has no physical form, and he creates many forms with his Yog Maya power.
He is the sustainer of this universe, and all the results a person gets are by Prakriti. It is just a system in this universe where people die and are reborn because of their karmic actions.
You should perform actions while keeping the lord in your mind.
In this chapter, you also learn that there are many misconceptions about God: the body or that we are only mind and body. But the truth is God is infinite, and we are here to serve the Lord by doing good deeds without selfish motives. Sri Krishna also says that God does not want big offerings, and is happy with simple offerings.
We can learn from this chapter of Gita that anybody can in their life at any stage, worship the Lord with pure heart without any motive, and can attain him. At the end of this chapter, Krishna says, ” keep your mind in me, think of me and worship me dedicate your body and mind to me you will certainly come to me.
(Lesson #10) Bhagavad Gita Chapter 10: The Yoga Of Divine Manifestations
In this chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, Sri Krishna assures us that his divine powers are present in everything, ready to be manifested. Sri Krishna tries to increase bhakti in Arjuna. He tells him that he is the source of everything.
In this chapter, he elaborated on all his divine opulence to Arjuna so that he can meditate upon the lord with extreme devotion. Sri Krishna told only a few of his divine powers and manifestations.
In this chapter, Arjuna Says that no one can understand the true personality of God, and he knows everything, and whatever we see as splendid and glorious is just a spark of God’s brilliance.
This chapter teaches us that God is everything, and we humans are just small creations of his. This teaches us that there is a higher power above us who controls the universe, and we should never say that we have created something as it gives rise to our ego. On a single request of Arjuna, who was dearer to Sri Krishna, Sri Krishna showed him his real amazing Cosmic form. We humans never understand that God always grants our request and give us what we need.
We only see from a single perspective that he takes from us. But the truth is God knows what is better for every one of us, and he offers us what we truly need or what we can handle with responsibility.
If you think that God is everything and the master of all, it will help you reduce your ego and arrogance.
This chapter ends with Krishna instructing Arjuna to devotion to the lord while carrying on his actions, leaving aside his likes and dislikes. If one is unattached, he can access God’s Cosmic form.
(Lesson #11) Bhagavad Gita Chapter 11: The Cosmic Vision
In this chapter of Bhagavad Gita, Sri Krishna shows Arjuna his real form or the cosmic form. This cosmic form is called “Vishvarupa”. This chapter of the Gita is interesting because it describes all the visuals Arjuna saw in the Cosmic form of Sri Krishna. He saw the Vishvarupa, which is impossible for any common man and for the demigods to see until and unless there is a union with God.
This chapter teaches us that everything we perceive through our eyes is God. If you think in such a way, you will enjoy everything not only in a material way but also in a way to praise every small thing around you.
(Lesson #12) Bhagavad Gita Chapter 12: The Religion Of Faith
In this chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, Sri Krishna answers a question of Arjuna who is a perfect yogi between the one who is devoted to God’s personal form and the one who is devoted to formless Brahman?
Sri Krishna answers it by saying that both paths lead to a single destination that is God-realization, but he regards the devotees of his personal form as the best yogis. He says that meditating upon his formless form is very difficult and full of tribulation, and that’s the reason why meditating upon his personal form is considered to be best.
Well, the main key is single-pointed devotion.
Sri Krishna knows that we are just common human beings whose minds are difficult to be in full absorption of the lord. He advises that if you are unable to devote yourself to such an extreme, you can strive to reach this stage by the daily practice of devotion and meditation and should never admit defeat.
He also says that if it is not possible for you, then you should work and perform your actions without thinking about the fruits. He also describes the hierarchy of knowledge, action, and meditation.
He says that higher than the mechanical practice is the cultivation of knowledge; higher than the cultivation of knowledge is meditation. Higher than meditation is the renunciation of fruits of action. By this, you can remain at peace with yourself. This chapter teaches us to be free from malice towards all human beings and be friendly and compassionate.
(Lesson #13) Bhagavad Gita Chapter 13: The Field And The Knower
This chapter was somewhat hard for me to understand, and it has many verses in which you will get confused.
This chapter of Bhagavad Gita is about Kshetra and Kshetrajna. Kshetra means “the field”, which is the body, and Kshetrajna is “the knower of the field” or the imperishable soul.
Well, the field or Kshetra is much more other than the body. It is the mind, intellect, organs, personality, ego, and all the components of material energy except for the knower of the field, i.e. the soul.
Sri Krishna also tells us about what is real knowledge, and other than that is ignorance.
Those qualities of mind are listed below:
- Freedom from hypocrisy
- Service to Guru
- Cleanliness of the body and mind
- Steadfastness and self-control
- Dispassion towards the objects of the senses
- Absence of egotism
- Keeping in mind the evils of birth, disease, old age, and death
- Absence of clinging to a spouse, children, home, etc.
- Even-mindedness amidst desired and undesired events in life
- Constant and exclusive devotion toward God
- An inclination for solitary places and an aversion for mundane society
- Constancy in spiritual knowledge
- The philosophical pursuit of the Absolute Truth
You can learn very much from this chapter, but the truth is that this chapter contains knowledge that some can understand and some can misunderstand.
So the simple teaching the 13th chapter of Bhagavad Gita provides is to fill your field, which is the body, with good thoughts.
(Lesson #14) Bhagavad Gita Chapter 14: The Yoga Of Division Of Three Gunas
This chapter is all about the three Gunas by which material nature is created. Humans are also controlled by this material energy, and that’s why we are controlled by these three Gunas.
Those three Gunas are :
- Sattva: Goodness
- Rajas: Passion
- Tamas: Ignorance
These gunas bind our souls to the body, so controlling them is very difficult by mere knowledge.
Sri Krishna reveals a simple solution to control all three Gunas by advising Arjuna to attach himself to the lord so that his mind rises towards a higher platform. Arjuna also inquires about the characteristics of the illumined souls who rise above the bondage of three Gunas.
Sri Krishna gives the characteristics of those illumined souls, which are given below:
Characteristics Of The Illumined Souls
- They neither hate enlightenment (which is born of sattva), nor desire (which is born of rajas), nor even delusion (which is born of tamas) when these are abundantly present.
- They do not last long for such activities when they are absent.
- They remain neutral to the modes of nature and are not disturbed by them.
- They know it is only the guṇas that act; they stay established in the self.
- They are alike in happiness and distress.
- They are established in the self.
- They look upon a stone and a piece of gold as of equal value.
- They remain the same amidst pleasant and unpleasant events.
- They are intelligent.
- They accept both blame and praise with equanimity.
- They remain the same in honor and dishonor.
- They treat both friend and foe alike.
Those souls are said to have risen above the three guṇas. They who serve the Lord with sheer devotion rise above the three modes of material nature and come to the level of Brahman.
(Lesson #15) Bhagavad Gita Chapter 15: The Supreme Self
In this chapter of the Bhagavad Gita Lord, Sri Krishna teaches Arjuna how the human world is entangled with the material world.
Sri Krishna compares the materialistic world with an upside-down tree named “Ashvathh tree”. He describes the tree more by saying that the objects of senses are its tender buds, roots hang downward, which causes the flow of karma in humans. The fruitful actions described in Vedas are its leaves.
Note: This type of tree is not perceived in this world. This chapter is all about how your soul suffers in this material world. It is just a symbol of the material world.
So how can you cut this tree?
You can only cut down this tree with an axe of detachment, and that’s the teaching we get in the 15th chapter of the Bhagavad Gita. We should find the source that is God situated in the tree roots, and we should surrender to him.
(Lesson #16) Bhagavad Gita Chapter 16: The Separateness Of Divine and Undivine
In this chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, Sri Krishna teaches Arjuna about the traits of good souls and demoniac souls.
Sri Krishna tells Arjuna about the difference between both of them. Sri Krishna named those pure souls as “Divine” and describes that those characteristics are important for a soul to understand God.
The Divine Traits are:
- The Purity Of Mind
- Steadfastness In Spiritual Knowledge
- Control Of The Senses
- Performance Of Sacrifice
- The Study Of The Sacred Books
- And Straightforwardness
- Absence Of Anger
- Restraint From Fault-Finding
- Compassion Toward All Living Beings
- Absence Of Covetousness
- Lack Of Fickleness
- Bearing Enmity Toward None
- The Absence Of Vanity
The Demoniac Traits are:
The souls with the divine or good traits attain liberation, but the evil ones are entangled in the cycle of birth and death.
At the end of this chapter, Krishna advises Arjuna (which is also the main teaching from this chapter) to make decisions according to the scriptures and let them be the authority. We should understand the scriptural injunctions and then act according to them.
(Lesson #17) Bhagavad Gita Chapter 17: The Power Of Faith
This chapter mainly answers the question that what if a person denies the scriptures but worships with faith? Sri Krishna answers it by saying that faith, food, charity, etc., are three types related to the three Gunas. The nature of their faith is determined by the gunas working on them.
This chapter teaches us to be good and that the sattva guna is close to divinity and the most positive trait to have. But as Sattva is a guna and guna binds us to the cycle of birth and death, we should exercise it with unattachment without thinking about it.
(Lesson #18) Bhagavad Gita Chapter 18: The Yoga Of Liberation And Renunciation
This chapter of the Bhagavad Gita teaches us about the best path between renunciation of actions and renunciation of desires and which to choose.
Sri Krishna’s advice is to take the second path because even a wise should not abandon his duty of doing charity and penance.
Sri Krishna also teaches Arjuna that all human beings do work according to their three Gunas, and the wise think that he is not the doer or the enjoyer of the actions.
This life lesson is hard to understand, and many of us are not qualified enough to understand it, so we should understand it simply. The simple understanding of this statement is to never judge others for their actions and become more compassionate.
There is also important teaching in Bhagavad Gita, which you can apply in choosing your career.
He says that all human beings act according to their nature, which means to say I love acting, and the whole day I think about it. If you say to me to work as a businessman, I will still think about it because it is my nature, and that is why your true nature will tell you what you will do the best.
Watch This: Lessons From Bhagavad Gita
FAQ: Lessons From Bhagavad Gita
What is the main message of the Bhagavad Gita?
The main message of the Bhagavad Gita is to not get attached to the material things in this world.
What is the most important lesson in the Bhagavad Gita?
The most important lesson in Bhagavad Gita is to be an equipoise in every phase of life. Do not be extra happy when life’s going well and do not be extra sad when it’s not.
Now, Apply These Lessons From Gita In Your Life
Shri Krishna teach us many life lessons that we can apply in our daily lives in the Bhagavad Gita. So give Bhagavad Gita a read and I bet you will never regret it. If you have any doubts about Gita, then surely ask us in the comment section.
In case you don’t have the Gita, buy it from here:
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