Tuesday, April 2, 2013

one stop shop

Verse 2.46: All purposes served by a small well can at once be served by a great reservoir of water. Similarly, all the purposes of the Vedas can be served to one who knows the purpose behind them.

For all you North Americans out there...do you live close to a Walmart? Strange question to begin today's reflection on, I know, but bear with me. I ask because more and more North American's do most of their shopping at Walmart nowadays. I bring this up not to focus on Walmart, but to focus on the "why" aspect. Why do so many people choose to shop there? Because it serves as a one stop shop! From the basics of food, clothing and furniture to all the extras including electronics, books, movies, jewellery and so much more, it can all be found there.

This is the point that Krsna is emphasizing to Arjuna using the analogy of the well and reservoir. When it comes to knowledge, the one-stop shop for everything is the Vedas. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, the sanskrit word Veda means knowledge or revelation. The Vedic literature is extremely diverse and contains detailed information on material, religious and spiritual subjects. In fact, the Bhagavad-gita is considered one of the most valued jewels of literature found in the Vedas.

So how can the Vedas provide the solution to everything one may want to know about? Because, as mentioned before, the word Veda simply means body of knowledge. It is non-sectarian in the information it provides and gives details on everything from the military arts, medicine, yoga, astrology and philosophy to getting into nitty gritty details on how one can live very comfortably.

However, the Vedas have an ultimate purpose behind them. Although one can learn to be a great yogi, mystic philosopher or just a really good person by studying the Vedas, it's true purpose is to free one from all material suffering (i.e. cycle of repeated birth, death, disease and old age). The Vedas allow one to go at their own pace, by giving a step by step approach which ultimately leads the student of the Vedas to come to the path of bhakti yoga.

But there's a secret. Since the Vedas are so broad and encompass so many subject matters, it's easy to get confused. We're so lucky to have great teachers within the bhakti yoga tradition who have distilled the essence for all of us today by highlighting those pieces of Vedic literature that can get us on the fast track. One, is the Gita and the other is called Srimad Bhagavatam .

So go on and open up a page of the Bhagavad-gita today and experience how it can become your one-stop guide to yoga and discovering yourself!

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