The Real Message of the Gītā: Decoding the Text
The Gı̄tā, along with the Upaniṣads and Brahma Sūtra, forms an essential part of the three canonical source books, prasthānatrayi, of the entire Hindu tradition. The Gı̄tā is both a spiritual treatise and a manual for successful living. In this chapter, we will attempt to determine the central theme of the Gı̄tā by applying a three-step interpretative process. First, we will analyze the colophon at the end of each chapter of the Gı̄tā. Secondly, we will apply an exegetical analysis methodology called hermeneutics, a qualitative methodology involving an in-depth interpretation of a key text, to the Bhagavad Gı̄tā, to determine its main message. Finally, we will provide a brief summary of each of the 18 chapters of the Gı̄tā to introduce the text and to synergistically determine its emergent message.
Following the literal meaning of the Gı̄tā is not hard; the real challenge is understanding its true spirit. Understanding the true spirit of its message clearly will provide a sure footing for applying its teachings to the leadership domain, as enunciated in the subsequent chapters of this book.