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16th Mar 2022

The Little Known Quintessential Facts about Bhagavad Gita

The Bhagavad Gita, an ancient Hindu epic treasured by a majority of people, is one of those fewer philosophical books that provide a comprehensive explanation of the problems, misery, and sufferings of human beings. The Gita shlokas recite timeless wisdom and philosophical ideas, that not everyone understands even today. The Bhagavad Gita imparts many critical lessons on work, life, religion, philosophy, and spirituality. Gita is a text that most people know about, but not all comprehend its essence, significance, and facts entirely. In this blog, we will look at lesser-known facts about Gita – some of which will surprise you, some will move you to read it yourself, and some will give critical insight into the context of Bhagavad Gita: 

Fact #1 – Arjun was not alone in receiving Krishna’s teaching 

  • It is generally held that the Bhagavad Gita was a dialogue between Shri Krishna and the Pandava Prince, Arjun. But are you sure that these were the only two involved? Arjun was not the only one who got to learn about the wisdom of Gita. Lord Hanuman, Sanjaya, and Barbarik also got the opportunity to acquire the expansive knowledge of the Gita. Lord Hanuman was on the flag of Arjun’s chariot, so he witnessed the whole war of Mahabharat. Sanjaya, the attendant of King Dhritrashtra was given the boon of divine vision by Mahamuni Vedvyas, to narrate the proceedings of the mighty war to the blind king. Lastly, Barbarik, the son of Ghatotkach, was also monitoring the great war from a hilltop, which resulted in him accumulating Krishna’s ultimate teaching too. 

Fact #2 – Arjun was not the first to receive Krishna’s wisdom 

  • Yes, Lord Krishna was very fond of Arjun, it is a very well known fact. But did you know that Lord Krishna also tried to recite the Bhagavad Gita shlokas to Duryodhana initially? This war could have been entirely averted if only Duryodhana was educated. Alas, his misfortune! As arrogant as always, he argued with Krishna that he already knows the difference between right and wrong, and refused to listen to it wholly. Duryodhana believed he had an innate force within him, that did not permit him to act according to his dharma and make the right decision. This intrinsic force he had made him the grand ‘adharmic’ of the whole drama.   

Fact #3 – One particular number is shown to have great significance in Gita 

  • T The ocean of wisdom that is the Gita shlokas and the Mahabharat, all seem to have a resonance to the number ’18’. The battle of Kurukshetra lasted for 18 days, and the total number of volumes and parvas in the Gita is 18. 18 individuals are essential for the sacrificial rite, and the word 18 denotes sacrifice itself in Sanskrit. There was a military formation on the territory of Kurukshetra called an Akshauhini in the Mahabharat, which comprises 21,870 elephants, 21,870 chariots, 65,610 cavalry, and 109,350 infantries. Now, if you tally up each one of these digits separately, the total will equal 18! It is claimed that the Pandavas’ army had 7 Akshauhinis, whilst the Kauravas’ army totalled 11 Akshauhinis. 

Fact #4 – The Gita means ‘a song’ even though based on a conversation 

  • Have you wondered why the Bhagavad Gita is said to be a ‘song’ even when it is ‘spoken’? The Bhagavad Gita is renowned as the Lord’s Song because it is written in a rhyming cadence called “Anushtup”, and each stanza consists of 32 syllables. The general concept is represented in four lines, each one with eight syllables. A ‘Trishtup’ meter is employed in certain lyrics, which consists of four lines of 11 syllables apiece. This is featured throughout Gita in a multitude of touching shlokas, including Chapter 2, Chapter 8, Chapter 11, and so on. 

Fact #5 – The Gita was written in one continuous flow, with no breaks 

  • Everyone knows that Gita was a dialogue between Krishna and Arjun, but have you ever wondered who wrote down the manuscript of Gita for the first time? Well, let us get down to a short story behind this fact. After the great Mahabharat culminated into Kaurava’s defeat and Pandavas’ ruling over Hastinapur for 36 years, Krishna also left Hastinapur to take care of his kingdom which Gandhari cursed (let’s save this interesting episode until next time), after all this Mahamuni Vedvyas sat down for a long, long meditation. However, the violent visions of the war did not let him meditate peacefully. He thought to translate this whole story into a poem, for which he went to Lord Brahma asking for a suitable assistant. He suggested the name of Ganpati (Ganesha) to the Mahamuni. The thought of acting as Vyasa’s scribe did not appeal to Ganpati. As a result, he stated that he would jot down the poem if only Vyasa recited it in such a way that he would not have to put down his quill till the epic ends. To this, Mahamuni said that Ganpati will not write down a single word without understanding it while interrupting the least. Hence, all agreed, it took three years to write the entire Mahabharat down, which Bhagavad Gita is a part of.    

The facts mentioned above are just a minuscule part of the multitude of interesting realities that Gita shlokas contain. The Bhagavad Gita is not a declaration of faith, its goal is to address the totality of who we are and what we need, rather than just one aspect of our character or one aspect of our expectations in life. To know the true essence and meaning of life, one should definitely read Gita. This exquisite doctrine is a key to alleviate all the sufferings of life, imparting one with the ultimate knowledge, the highest ‘gyaan’. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

What did Einstein say about Gita?

In the concluding years of his life, Albert Einstein began to explore and understand the Bhagavad Gita. He claimed he should have read the Bhagavad Gita earlier in his life and expressed regret for not doing so. 

Does Gita answer all humanity’s questions?  

The Bhagavad Gita is an ancient text that has remedies to all of life’s challenges. Mahatma Gandhi hailed it as a spiritual dictionary, and it functioned as a source of motivation for several luminaries of the Independence campaign.