Talk by Ambassador Basant Gupta on Spirituality and International Politics: India’s Role
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VIF organized a talk by Ambassador Basant Gupta on Spirituality and International Politics: India’s Role on 9 January 2020. The purpose was to cull out strategic insights from our ancient texts. Amb. Gupta spoke about the Bhagavad Gita. He said, the beauty of the Gita is in the fact that it brings out the divine wisdom of our scriptures from its exclusivity and makes it available to the ordinary men, living their daily lives in the world. The Gita tells us that the sacred knowledge is for all of us. The Gita's timeless appeal are emphasised by its total avoidance of dogma and bigotry. In Sri Krishna's own words: “However, men approach Me, even so I greet them. For the path men take from every side is Mine, O Arjuna!” (4.11) The Gita tells us that there is no greater victory in the life of a human being than victory over the mind. What would always be relevant is Sri Krishna’s simple but profound advice to Arjuna that a man who renounces the fruits of action, and acts only for God, is a man of renunciation and not a warrior who runs away from the battlefield. The Gita’s core message is that in order to be happy under all circumstances, one should be totally fearless in doing one’s duty.

The Gita also defines Yoga as “excellence in action” (2.50), that is, the skilful performance of action in a detached and selfless manner in the service of God and for universal welfare. Furthermore, Krishna says: Act by remaining calm in both success and failure. The equipoise of mind is called Karma Yoga (2.48). Amb Gupta said that the Gita teaches us that right action is of three kinds: 1) Dharma or sacred duty, 2) Lokasamgraha or the well-being of the world, and 3) Yagna or sacrifice (not necessarily the ritual of sacrifice, but any work done in the spirit of sacrifice). The truly enlightened person is always engaged in universal welfare (sarvabhutahiterata).

The Gita says that a wise person or pandit is one who beholds the same Self equally in all beings, including a humble but learned scholar, a cow, an elephant, a dog and an outcaste person (5.18). The Gita explains the mutual dependence and co-relation between the cycle of cloud, rain, food and human behaviour towards the nature: “All living beings subsist on food, and food is produced by rains. Rains come from the performance of sacrifice, and sacrifice is produced by the performance of prescribed duties”. Here, ‘yagya’ is the work performed with the motive of selflessness; as an act of sacrifice and service to the environment. Thus, if we take care of the environment, we will have enough rains and food to survive. Rain was a symbol of prosperity and all good deeds lead to prosperity.

Amb. Gupta pointed out that the great discovery of India was the truth of existential unity, articulated by the expression ekam sat. He also said that we are living in a CAGE (Cravings, Anger, Greed and Ego) and that these are the main impediments to progress.

Event Date 
January 9, 2020

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