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The Bhagavad Gita and Its Relevance Today: Guiding Students Through Ethical and Moral Dilemmas

The Bhagavad Gita and Its Relevance Today: Guiding Students Through Ethical and Moral Dilemmas

Growing up, my evenings were defined by a distinctive ritual: the recitation and memorization of shlokas from the Bhagavad Gita. At the time, this nightly practice felt more like a chore than an enlightening experience. It was a tradition I participated in without fully grasping its significance, a routine that, unbeknownst to me, would shape the very foundation of my life. Looking back, I realize that this seemingly mundane practice embedded within me a profound wisdom that has become indispensable in navigating the ethical and moral complexities of life. The Bhagavad Gita, a 700-verse Hindu scripture that is part of the amazing Indian epic Mahabharata, offers timeless lessons on duty, righteousness, and the nature of reality - lessons that I believe are not only invaluable but should also be an essential part of the upbringing of every child in their formative years.

For the past three decades, I have had the privilege of coaching and counseling high school students, guiding them not only through academic hurdles but also through the ethical quandaries that arise during adolescence. The teenage years are fraught with challenges and dilemmas that test their values and ethics. Peer pressure, academic competition, social media influences, and a myriad of other factors can cloud judgment and lead to ethical quandaries. The teachings of the Bhagavad Gita, however, provide a moral compass. They teach us about dharma (or righteous duty), the importance of performing one’s duty without attachment to the outcomes, and the need to maintain balance and integrity in the face of adversity. These principles encourage students to reflect on their actions and the consequences thereof, fostering a sense of responsibility and ethical awareness.

The Bhagavad Gita presents a conversation between Arjuna and Lord Krishna, who serves as his charioteer. On the battlefield of Kurukshetra, facing a war that pits him against his own kin, Arjuna is beset by doubt and moral dilemma. It is here that Lord Krishna imparts to Arjuna the spiritual wisdom and ethical considerations that form the core of the Gita. This ancient dialogue, transcending its historical and cultural context, offers profound insights into the human condition and the struggles we face in making ethical decisions.

Moreover, the Gita emphasizes the concept of yoga as a path to spiritual realization and inner peace. Through various forms of yoga, including karma yoga (the yoga of action), bhakti yoga (the yoga of devotion), and jnana yoga (the yoga of knowledge), the Gita offers a holistic approach to dealing with life’s challenges. It teaches students that true success and happiness come from self-discipline, self-service, devotion, and the pursuit of wisdom, rather than from external achievements or material possessions.

The wisdom of the Bhagavad Gita is timeless. Its teachings on ethics, duty, and the pursuit of spiritual knowledge are as relevant today as they were millenia ago. As someone who grew up with the Gita’s shlokas echoing in my ear, I can attest to the profound impact they have had on my life. They have provided me with a framework for understanding the world and my place within it, guiding me through difficult choices and ethical dilemmas.

Incorporating the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita into the education of young minds can equip them with the tools they need to navigate the complexities of modern life. It can help instill a sense of moral responsibility, encourage introspection, and foster a compassionate and understanding worldview. The Bhagavad Gita is more than just a religious text; it is a guide for living life and solving problems, offering wisdom that is universal and timeless. It is, without a doubt, a treasure trove of ethical guidance that should be explored and valued, not just in one’s formative years, but throughout the journey of life.

Rakhi Israni is the President of Excel Test Prep, Inc, a national educational company based in Fremont, CA. She is an attorney by profession and currently serves as the Vice President of Government Relations for Sewa International USA, the largest Hindu American service organization in the United States.

She has been actively involved in community service activities for most of her life. She is an active member of her local Interfaith council and the PTA at her kids’ school, and she is currently serving on the Board of Advisors for the AUM School. She is a Board Member for the State Bar of Texas. She has mentored and coached kids for 30 years to become active and productive leaders in their communities.


Amit Mishra

Member of the Board of Directors, Aum Education Society of America.

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